To the surprise of no one, Donald Trump reportedly told aides and administration staff that he was simply going to not leave the White House after losing to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The revelations come from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman‘s upcoming book, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, which details the chaos in the Oval Office following Trump’s loss.
According to an excerpt provided to CNN, there was a brief moment when Trump acknowledged that he lost to Biden and appeared to be embarrassed by the outcome. “We did our best,” Trump reportedly told junior aides, “I thought we had it.”
However, the situation quickly turned as Trump committed himself to his election fraud narrative and started telling people, “We’re never leaving. How can you leave when you won an election?”
Haberman writes that Trump’s post-election period was reminiscent of his attempts to claw his way back from dire financial straits three decades earlier, in which he tried to keep all options open for as long as he could. But Trump couldn’t decide which path to follow after his 2020 defeat. Haberman writes that he quizzed nearly everyone about which options would lead to success — including the valet who brought Diet Cokes when Trump pressed a red button on his Oval Office desk.
Haberman also revealed that Jared Kushner refused to confront Trump about the election loss and told people that those conversations were like visiting someone on their deathbed. “The priest comes later,” Kushner would say when asked to talk some sense into Trump.