Sunday, November 13, 2022

the last book I ever read (Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, excerpt eighteen)

from Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman:

Trump’s sanguinity had worn off by the second week after the election. He informed aides he had no intention of departing the White House for Biden. “I’m just not going to leave,” he told one. “We’re never leaving,” he told another. “How can you leave when you won an election?” To the chair of the Republican National Committee, he was overheard asking, “Why should I leave if they stole it from me?” Never before in history had a president refused to vacate the White House—the closest parallel might have been Mary Todd Lincoln, who stayed in the mansion for nearly a month after her husband was assassinated—and Trump’s cold declaration left aides uncertain as to what he might do next. They ignored his comments, hoping he would move on, but his defiance soon took other forms.

He was not willing to hear from anyone about a concession to Biden. On November 12, Trump had planned to meet with campaign officials to discuss a plan for what to do with the massive sums—ultimately more than $200 million over three weeks—raised since the election, on the pretense of combating voter fraud. That conversation was delayed, as the campaign leadership was overtaken by what became an hours-long session about contesting election results in the six states where Trump’s allies were trying to change the results. As Clark, the top lawyer on the campaign, presented an update on the situation in Georgia, delving into arcana about the state’s statutes to explain the so-called hand recount under way, he was interrupted by a voice on the phone. “No, it’s all wrong,” said Giuliani, to whom Trump had been criticizing Clark in private. White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who would become Clark’s closest ally in the weeks ahead, said Trump’s lawyers should let the hand recount finish before pursuing other legal remedies in Trump’s name. “We should stop the recount immediately,” Giuliani protested. Clark replied that the process was part of the secretary of state’s authority. “It is what it is,” he said resignedly. “You’re lying to the president,” Giuliani yelled back, claiming that Clark was minimizing Trump’s chances of success. Clark yelled back, “You’re a fucking asshole.” Trump hung up the phone and turned to Clark. “Will you go call him and make up?” Trump said. Clark agreed and, after the meeting had concluded, apologized to Pence for swearing in front of him. “There’s no reason to apologize when it’s the truth,” Pence replied.

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