A new book claims to shed light on former President Trump’s mindset in February of 2020, when his approval rating was surging, and contains several quotes encapsulating the fierce contempt he held toward various Democratic presidential candidates.
Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender’s book, released this Tuesday and titled, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” says Trump would often ask his aides which Democrat they were most concerned about in the presidential race and performed play-by-play commentary of a Democratic debate to reporters on Air Force One.
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“Trump then started offering his own color commentary: Bloomberg was smart, but not quick,” Bender wrote, describing a scene where Trump asked reporters to join him on the plane to watch the debate on the way from Phoenix to Las Vegas. “Biden had an awful facelift. Bernie was sharp, and Warren was nasty but a good debater.”
Bender continued: “But the climax for Trump was Bloomberg melting down when rivals, led by Warren, skewered him over his history of sexual harassment allegations and past support for stop-and-frisk policing. Trump crowed at every stammer he saw on-screen. ‘He stutters like Biden!’ Trump said.”
Bender wrote that the Trump campaign was split over the legitimacy of Bloomberg’s candidacy with some, including adviser Brad Parscale and then Vice-President Mike Pence, dismissing him, while others, including RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, insisted he shouldn’t be written off.
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“Trump was anxious about Bloomberg, too, and had to be constantly reassured,” Bender wrote. ‘What do you think of Bloomberg?’ he’d ask Oval Office visitors. “Who are you most worried about?’”
During another point in the presidential race, Trump reportedly asked an aide which Democratic candidate would be the most challenging, and when the aide told him the answer was former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Trump responded, “Buttigieg? That f***ing guy? Nah.”
Bender wrote that the president felt confident in February of 2020 and seemed to be content with his position in the race.
“The president was feeling emboldened,” Bender wrote. “His approval ratings were at the highest point of his presidency, he’d removed or reassigned many of the administration officials who had testified against him during impeachment, and now Democrats were falling apart.”
Trump reportedly told reporters as they walked away from Air Force One after watching the debate, “I’m the president, and I’m going to stay the president. And you’re finally starting to realize that!
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Trump took issue with several of the controversial revelations from Bender’s book and referred to him in a statement as a “third rate reporter,” adding that interviews he has engaged in with reporters post-presidency have been a “total waste of time.”
Bender responded to Trump’s criticism on social media and said he stands by his reporting.