Donald Trump sincerely believed in a totally absurd conspiracy theory that may have played a hand in his losing 2020 bid for re-election, according to a new book.
In excerpts from his forthcoming book,“Frankly, We Did Win This Election”: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender describes how deeply the former president of the United Stated believed that Joe Biden would surreptitiously exit the race and be replaced with a different candidate.
During a meeting with policy advisors, just a month after the COVID-19 pandemic hit America, Trump reportedly told officials about the theory, saying he had come to “realize [Biden is] old, and they’re going to give it to somebody else. They’re going to give it to Hillary, or they’re going to give it to Michelle Obama.”
According to Bender, the theory was presented to Trump by former Clinton White House advisor Dick Morris, who was apparently “quietly advising” the president for the last year. He so believed it that he chose to “hold off on heavy spending against Biden” early in the race.
“Dick Morris told Trump that Biden was too old and too prone to gaffes to be the nominee,” Bender says in the book. “Others said Fox News anchor Sean Hannity expressed concern that Biden would collapse under a sustained attack from Trump.”
He also called the current president a “mental retard,” specifically during a meeting in the Oval Office, when he interrupted “a policy meeting in the Oval Office to ask, ‘How am I losing in the polls to a mental retard?’”
Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio is cited as one of the few in Trump’s camp to attempt to debunk the theory, writing a full memo asking the president to reconsider his belief that Biden would replaced.
“I know there is some concern (which I strenuously disagree with) that if we go after Biden too soon, we can collapse him, and the Dems will replace him at their convention. I know POTUS tends to share this opinion,” Fabrizio wrote, according to Bender’s book.
“The pollster aimed to debunk the theory by outlining the remaining Democratic primaries, in which Biden had no significant challenger, and the delegate math to secure the nomination,” Bender explains. “Biden would have enough delegates to secure the nomination in just three weeks, Fabrizio explained, and it would be mathematically impossible to steal it in four weeks.”
The book is available on August 10.