Mark Meadows's new book walks through the fury that he and others in the White House faced after it was leaked to the press that then-President Donald Trump was rushed to the bunker when a protester jumped over the temporary fencing around the White House complex.
If there's one thing consistent with Trump, it's that he can never be seen to show weakness. His niece, Dr. Mary Trump, a psychologist, has walked through many of the reasons for this that go back to his father Fred Trump Sr.
Elsewhere in the book, Meadows talks about Trump's fear of showing weakness around his COVID-19 illness and his colonoscopy. When getting the common procedure, Trump refused to sign over power, instead opting to undergo the colonoscopy without any anesthesia.
"President Trump would not willingly admit weakness, especially with the whole world watching. He knew better than anyone that giving up control of the White House during this difficult time would be the ultimate sign of weakness," Meadows also wrote.
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The confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh made the judge appear so weak that Trump almost replaced him. Kavanaugh burst into tears over being forced to face sexual assault allegations.
Former White House communications director, press secretary and first lady chief of staff Stephanie Grisham noted Trump's obsession with looking weak in her book as well.
"As I’ve stated many times, there is nothing worse than being made to look 'weak,' and he denied that he had gone there for his safety, saying that he had gone for an 'inspection,' which was just not true," she wrote in I'll Take Your Questions Now.
"If there is one thing for which President Trump has absolutely no tolerance or patience, it’s weakness," wrote Meadows.
So, when it was revealed that Trump was rushed to the bunker and that he was "rattled," it made him look like he was scared facing off against his foes or weak in the face of Black Lives Matter protests. New York Times headlines characterized it as Trump shrinking. The Guardian said that he fled to the bunker. The Los Angeles Times described Trump as being rushed underground. Forbes painted a picture of Trump in hiding.
The former president was so furious that the story was leaked he demanded the person be prosecuted. Michael Bender's book, Frankly, We Did Win, quotes Trump screaming, "Whoever did that, they should be charged with treason! They should be executed!"
“To this day, everyone has a theory about where the leak came from," said Meadows. "If I had to bet, I would say that it was probably Stephanie Grisham, Emma Doyle, or someone from the VP’s team.”
Grisham has published a tell-all book that revealed a lot of the ugly pieces of the Trump White House and those she worked with. She and Meadows clashed from the moment he arrived.
"It looked to me that Mark Meadows was milking" Trump's delusion and conspiracy "for all it was worth. Why? Probably because that was how he stayed in power," Grisham wrote in I'll Take Your Questions Now.
"I had been in Kansas for a couple of weeks when I first heard that Mark Meadows was accusing me of leaking 'the bunker story' to the news media," Grisham wrote. "I was not in town that weekend, but, as was standard protocol, Tony Ornato, the deputy chief of staff for operations, called me after the first family had been moved to let me know that Mrs. Trump and Barron were safe. He said it was just a precaution and that they would all be leaving to go back to the residence soon. The next day, I started getting calls and texts from reporters asking me if it was true that the family had gone to the bunker."
She said that she did text the folks at the White House that the news had gotten out, and that she couldn't respond to press questions due to the cell service.
"When it came to matters such as national security and the first family’s safety, there was never a chance in hell that I would give the press the slightest bit of information," Grisham said.
Emma Doyle was a hold-over from Mick Mulvaney's days as Trump's chief of staff.
Meadows's book is on sale now.