The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021 by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser:
Within days, there were presidential tweetstorms attacking Republican senators—his nemesis John McCain and sidekick Lindsey Graham were “sadly weak on immigration” and “always looking to start World War III”—and early-morning rants about Iran and Mexico and Barack Obama. There was a threat to “send in the Feds” to battle “carnage” in the streets of Chicago. There were the repeated preposterous claims about the crowd size at his inauguration, which he forced his new press secretary, Sean Spicer, to repeat from the White House podium in a fatal blow to his spokesman’s credibility.
And then there was Trump’s boast that he had won not just the Electoral College but the popular vote too, when in fact he had lost it to Clinton by three million votes. It was completely invented. But that did not stop the new president from insisting on it to the astonishment of congressional leaders he invited to the White House on his first full workday in office. “You know, I won the popular vote,” Trump told them. When Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, challenged him, he simply repeated it. “Five million people voted illegally,” he asserted. “Five million immigrants voted illegally.” When Pelosi objected again, Trump added, “And I’m not even counting California!”
Trump even appointed a commission to prove this made-up claim, a panel that would quietly close down a year later, having found no evidence whatsoever. It was all unthinkable and, ever since 2:29 a.m. on November 9, when the Associated Press had declared the presidential election of 2016 decided in Donald Trump’s favor, inevitable.