President Donald Trump's first debate was generally considered by political experts to be a disaster. According to a new book, that opinion wasn't exclusive to anti-Trump people.
In a slate of new books about the final year of the Trump administration, the president was told by everyone that he bombed.
In Michael Wolff's book, Landslide, Trump is described as having his entire world analyzed through the lens of what he saw on television.
"Accordingly, most of his perceptions about Joe Biden were based on Biden's inability to dominate the screen, with Trump cackling at Biden's lapses and mimicking his verbal hesitations and stutter," the book explained."He was certain that Biden could not survive a debate with a full-on Trump. The sleepster would wilt and sink into inarticulateness against his more voluble and charismatic (or at least hyperaggressive) opponent. Whatever had been wrong in the campaign, whatever challenging circumstances COVID had created, nonetheless, debating Biden was the simple solution."
Trump believed that there were scores to be settled. He hated Biden, and was ready to go on a full attack. "Trump was always at his most satisfied—most expansive, even—when he was set to settle a score," said the book.
Wolff characterized the debate as "the most disastrous" in the history of the United States.
"And compounding everything, there was Chris Christie afterward, being interviewed on television saying what a rotten job the president had done," he wrote.
In Michael Bender's book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election, Trump and Chris Chrstie shared an awkward phone call.
"I won, right? I did great," Trump told Christie.
"No," Christie said. "You did terribly. You interrupted him seventy-three times in ninety minutes. I didn't think that was possible. We have to totally change our approach."
"You're being too harsh," Trump said. "You always say I don't do well."
But Christie wasn't the only ally who thought Trump bombed, as Fox News host Tucker Carlson also told the president just how horrible it was.
"Others in Trump's orbit reached out to Tucker Carlson to talk to Trump," reported Bender. "Carlson had been blunt in his assessment of Trump's performance—he thought the president came off as unappealing and rude.
"When Biden told him to shut up, I agreed with him!" Carlson said according to the book. Carlson had no interest in talking to Trump. He'd done it once before and wasn't about to do it again.
It didn't matter, Trump picked up the phone to call Carlson himself. Sitting in the oval office with aides surrounding him, Trump called Carlson on his cell phone but the Fox host sent it to voicemail. Trump called it again, this time giving it one ring before Trump was denied.
He finally got through by an aide reaching out to Carlson's producer.
"Everyone says I did a good job," the book cites Trump saying.
"I don't know who told you that was good," Carlson said. "It was not good."
"Trump was taken aback," Bender writes. "Carlson told Trump it had been a mistake to spend so much time ahead of the debate describing Biden as senile. The Democratic nominee had easily cleared that bar."
The books are all available for purchase now.