Exclusive: ‘I’m just not going to leave’: New book reveals Trump sworn to stay in White House



CNN

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly told his aides in the days following his 2020 election defeat that he would stay in the White House rather than let in President Joe Biden take over, according to information provided to CNN from an upcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.

“I’m just not going to leave,” Trump told an aide, according to Haberman.

“We’re never leaving,” Trump told another. “How can you leave when you’ve won an election?”

Trump’s insistence that he would not leave the White House, which has not previously been reported, adds new detail to the chaotic post-election period in which Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat and numerous efforts to nullify the election result led to the attack of January 6, 2021 on the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.

Haberman’s book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” will be released Oct. 4.

The book’s revelations come as US House and Justice Department investigators probe Trump’s refusal to hand over power after the 2020 election. further hearings and a final report this fall, while federal investigators recently served several former Trump aides with subpoenas.

Haberman, a CNN political analyst, has covered Trump for The New York Times since his 2016 presidential campaign. Her stories have made her a frequent target of Trump’s vitriol on Twitter.

Haberman writes that in the aftermath of the November 3 election, Trump seemed to acknowledge that he had lost to Biden. He asked advisers to tell him what was wrong. He comforted a counselor saying, “We did our best. Trump told junior press aides, “I thought we had it,” seemingly almost embarrassed by the outcome, according to Haberman.

But at some point, Trump’s mood changed, writes Haberman, and he abruptly informed his aides that he had no intention of leaving the White House in late January 2021 for Biden to move in.

He was even heard asking Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, “Why should I leave if they stole it from me?”

Trump’s vow to refuse to leave the White House had no historical precedent, writes Haberman, and his statement left his aides uncertain about what he might do next. The closest parallel might have been Mary Todd Lincoln, who remained in the White House for nearly a month after the assassination of her husband, President Abraham Lincoln, the author noted.

Publicly, Trump dismissed questions about whether he would leave office. On November 26, 2020, he was asked by a journalist whether he would leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for Biden. “Certainly I will, and you know that,” Trump said in response, as he continued to spread lies about stealing the election.

A longtime New York-based reporter who has worked for the city’s two tabloids, Haberman writes that Trump’s post-election period was reminiscent of his attempts to recover from a difficult financial situation three decades earlier, in which he tried to keep all options open as long as he could.

But Trump couldn’t decide which way to go after his 2020 defeat. Haberman writes that he asked almost everyone about the options that would lead to success – including the valet who brought Diet Cokes when Trump pressed on a red button on his oval office.

Reporting provided to CNN from the forthcoming book also reveals new details about what people around Trump were doing following an election defeat he refused to accept. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was reluctant to confront Trump over the loss, according to Haberman.

When he encouraged a group of aides to come to the White House and brief the then-president, Kushner was asked why he didn’t join them himself. Trump’s son-in-law compared it to a deathbed scene, writes Haberman.

“The priest comes later,” Kushner said.

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