Former US President Donald Trump was surprised by supporters’ fervent loyalty toward him and sometimes derisive, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman has said.
The former Amerian leader once called his fans “fucking crazy,” Haberman wrote in The Atlantic, while describing three post-presidency interviews she held with Trump in the run-up to the release of a book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.”
When the two spoke of the January 6 storming of the US Capitol — during which Trump has been widely documented to have been giddily watching television while refusing to take action to stop the assault on the halls of power — the ex-president claimed otherwise.
“I had heard that afterward and actually on the late side,” he claimed. “I was having meetings. I was also with Mark Meadows and others. I was not watching television.”
Haberman said overwhelming evidence showed the statement to be a lie.
Said Haberman: “His impulse to try to sell his preferred version of himself was undeterred by the stain that January 6 left on his legacy and on the democratic foundations of the country – if anything, it grew stronger.”
Haberman described Trump’s life at his Mar-A-Lago estate just after departing the presidency, in March 2021.
“After the headiness of being at the center of the world’s gaze, his time after the White House made him seem shrunken,” she wrote.
“He often played golf and then went to his newly built office at the club for meetings with whoever traveled down to seek his approval. He would watch television before going to dinner, where club members would sometimes applaud him, and then it would start all over again the next day, so removed from the daily rhythms of the broader world that he was oblivious to holidays on the calendar and staff had to remind him.”
In July, the investigating committee into the January 6 events said that despite desperate pleas from aides, allies, a Republican congressional leader and even his family, Trump refused to call off the January 6 mob attack on the Capitol, instead “pouring gasoline on the fire” by aggressively tweeting his false claims of a stolen election and celebrating his crowd of supporters as “very special.”
The panel documented how for some 187 minutes, from the time Trump left a rally stage sending his supporters to the Capitol to the time he ultimately appeared in the Rose Garden video that day to call for calm, nothing could compel the defeated president to act. Instead, he watched the violence unfold on TV.
The defeated president turned his supporters’ “love of country into a weapon,” said the panel’s Republican vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
“Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office,” Cheney declared.
“Every American must consider this: Can a president who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of Jan. 6 ever be trusted in any position of authority in our great nation?” she asked.
Trump, who is considering another White House run, dismissed the committee as a “Kangaroo court,” and name-called the panel and witnesses for “many lies and misrepresentations.”