In the days after Joe Biden defeated him in the 2020 election, Donald Trump told an aide he was “just not going to leave” the White House, according to a new book on his presidency and its chaotic aftermath.
“We’re never leaving,” he vowed to another aide, says the book from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman titled Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America. “How can you leave when you won an election?”
CNN, where Haberman also serves as a political analyst, said Monday it reviewed reporting for the book – set for a 4 October release date – and published new details on Trump’s insistence that he intended to stay at the White House despite his electoral loss to Biden.
The book reports Trump being overheard whining and asking Republican National Committee chairperson Ronna McDaniel: “Why should I leave if they stole it from me?”
None of Trump’s predecessors had ever threatened to just remain at the White House after the end of their presidencies. The only remotely close parallel was the former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, who remained at the White House for a few weeks after the assassination of her husband, Abraham Lincoln, in April 1865, Haberman’s book adds.
Trump’s private bluster about refusing to move out of the White House contradicted public statements he made to reporters less than a month after the election that he would “certainly” leave if Biden’s victory over him was certified.
“I will, and you know that,” Trump said, though he insisted electoral fraudsters had robbed him of beating Biden.
Additionally, Haberman’s book portrays Trump as picking the brains of everyone in his orbit for their thoughts on his camp’s ideas on how to keep him in the Oval Office despite Biden’s win. Among those consulted was the valet who would ferry Diet Cokes to him whenever Trump pressed a red button on the presidential desk in the Oval Office, according to the book.
Trump, of course, eventually relented and moved out on the same day as Biden’s inauguration, sparing authorities from having to forcibly escort him out of the White House at the behest of the new president.
Trump supporters who bought his lies that he’d been defrauded of victory in the 2020 race staged the deadly US Capitol attack on January 6th early the following year. A bipartisan Senate committee report linked seven deaths to the violence that day, which was aimed at preventing the congressional certification of Biden’s victory.
Federal prosecutors later filed criminal charges against more than 800 participants, many of whom have already been convicted and sentenced to prison.
A bipartisan House committee earlier this year held a series of public hearings making the case that – among other things – Trump apparently violated federal law when he ignored pleas to take action that would halt his supporters’ assault on the Capitol.
The FBI in August also searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida after agents say they found evidence that the ousted president was retaining government secrets there without authorization. From Mar-a-Lago, the FBI seized about 11,000 documents and 48 empty folders emblazoned with classified markings.
Trump had not been charged with any crimes as Confidence Man’s release date neared.