On the 6th of January 2021 Donald Trump told his supporters that he would march on the US Capitol with them in an attempt to overturn the election results. He promptly abandoned them after a terse exchange with his chief of staff, this is according to the first excerpt from Michael Wolff’s third Trump White House book, entitled Landslide.
The extract has been exclusively published by New York magazine.
The journalists first book on Trump, Fire and Fury, exploded onto bookshelves in January 2018 and created a new genre of scandalous political books. While his first book did very well however his sequel, Siege, did not meet expectations.
On January 6th this year, while Congress met to confirm Biden’s election win, Trump spoke to his supporters and told them: “We’re going to walk down [to the Capitol to protest] – and I’ll be there with you.”
According to the excerpt Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was approached by concerned secret service agents but said: “No. There’s no way we are going to the Capitol.”
Wolff writes that when the president was approached by Meadows he seemed unsure of what his chief of staff was talking about.
“You said you were going to march with them to the Capitol,” Meadows reportedly said. “How would we do that? We can’t organize that. We can’t.”
“I didn’t mean it literally,” Trump then replied.
The former president is also reported to have been puzzled when his supports began a riot that led to five people losing their lives.
Wolff also claims that Trump was confused and disappointed by: “who these people were with their low-rent ‘trailer camp’ bearing and their ‘get-ups’, once joking that he should have invested in a chain of tattoo parlors and shaking his head about ‘the great unwashed’.”
Trump and his close family would watch the attack unfold on TV at the White House.
According to Wolff the exchange between the president and his chief of staff shed’s light on how Trump abandoned his most fervent supporters.
As Wolff reports the White House quickly came to the realisation that Mike Pence had “concluded that he was not able to reject votes unilaterally or, in effect, to do anything else, beyond playing his ceremonial role, that the president might want him to do”.
Trump’s aid Jason Miller is then reported as saying, “oh shit” before turning to the president’s lawyer and election fraud cheerleader, Rudy Giuliani.
The writer reports that the former New York mayor was: “drinking heavily and in a constant state of excitation, often almost incoherent in his agitation and mania”.
As the attempted insurrection escalated Trump posted a tweet attacking his vice-president and continued to ignore the numerous aids who were pleading with him to ask his supporters to stand down.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and advisor is reported to have seen the attack as nothing more than an optics issue. Wolff states that it took an hour for Trump to make the: “transition from seeing the mob as people protesting the election – defending him so he would defend them – to seeing them as ‘not our people’”.
Trump the reportedly asked Meadows: “How bad is this? This looks terrible. This is really bad. Who are these people? These aren’t our people, these idiots with these outfits. They look like Democrats.”
He then added: “We didn’t tell people to do something like this. We told people to be peaceful. I even said ‘peaceful’ and ‘patriotic’ in my speech!”
Landslide is slated for release on July 27th.