A White House source speaking with The Mail on Sunday gave an inside look at US President Donald Trump’s failure to grasp the impact of the mob of his supporters raiding the Capitol last week, describing it as “the final hours of a deranged president in his bunker.”
Trump was livid, the unnamed source said, not at the attack itself and its far-reaching ramifications for the country’s democracy, but merely at the harm done to his own image.
“Trump was ‘apoplectic’ in embarrassment because the ‘white trash’ mob on screen made him look bad,” the report said.
The source was quoted as saying: “He was angry, not at the appalling crimes they were committing, but because he felt embarrassed. When they first stormed the Capitol, he was enjoying it. These were ‘his people.’”
“But when he saw pictures of the half-naked guy in the fur hat he started complaining they looked ‘cheap and poor.’ Even at one of the worst moments in American history, he was thinking about his image. He didn’t grasp the scale of the disaster.”
The protester was identified as Jake Angeli, a far-right activist and conspiracy theorist.
The Daily Mail report said that for hours, Trump ignored calls — including by Vice President Mike Pence — to issue a televised address calling off the mob.
“Why should I? These people are my supporters,” he reportedly said.
When they tried to get Trump’s wife, Melania, to help, they were left “dumbfounded” by her reaction, the source said.
“The heart of US government was under siege, our very democracy on the line, but Mrs. Trump was calmly arranging porcelain figurines” for a photoshoot for a new coffee table book about presidential artifacts, he said.
She ignored pleas to intervene.
“She said nothing. She remained silent and carried on arranging a vase for the shoot. She checked out of this presidency and her marriage a long time ago,” the source claimed.
The First Lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, her closet adviser, resigned later that day.
“Everyone else who had pleaded with him to publicly denounce what was going on had left. Melania wouldn’t do a thing,” the source said.
“In the end, we had to beg Ivanka to go in there. Everyone left the room while she spoke to her father.”
It was his daughter who finally convinced Trump to record a video about the events that was posted to his Twitter account. In the footage, which drew condemnation from critics, Trump repeated his allegations of voter fraud and told the rioters “to remain calm and go home,” though he added, “We love you.”
Trump’s has since been permanently banned from Twitter.
The source said that despite everything, the president “truly believes the election was stolen from him even though there is not a shred of evidence for that.”
“It’s like the president is living in a parallel universe,” the source said. “Everyone knows he lost, that there was no voter fraud, yet in his mind the White House has been stolen from him, and the rioters this week are loyal patriots defending him against those who are trying to steal the presidency from him.”
The mob broke into the Capitol following a rally by Trump supporters in Washington that the president spoke at.
Five people, including a policewoman, died in the violence, which also caused damage to the building. Dozens were arrested.
Democrats are moving to impeach Trump later this week, holding him responsible for the violence.