Mollie and the President In Exile square off, get it on.
What follows is adapted from three interviews of President Donald Trump for Mollie Hemingway’s latest book “Rigged: How The Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections,” out October 12.
A few weeks after Biden was inaugurated, I told Trump during a phone call that I was going to write a book about the 2020 election. He invited me to come see him.
That’s how I ended up in Florida in late February, for our first interview. The moment you land at the Palm Beach International airport, people joke about having made it to the Free State of Florida, but that’s exactly how it feels compared to D.C.
My friend Karol Markowicz, a writer who escaped Brooklyn for an area near Palm Beach just so her children could attend school during the lockdowns, describes the area as “The Hamptons, but colorful and risk-taking. Everyone is rich enough that they don’t care what anyone else thinks of them.”
For our first meeting, we sat in the 60-foot long Mar-a-Lago central room. Built by Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, and meticulously restored and renovated by Donald Trump, the gold-leafed ceiling towers above ornate furnishings and tapestries. A massive window overlooks the expansive lawn in front of the ocean. On the other side, the open doors lead out to the large patio where members of the private club there have dinner each night.
At a later meeting I was told that President Trump preferred a seat with its back to the ocean side, but this day he was in the seat facing the ocean. Behind him, an open door showed a room with video equipment and a large TV, playing Fox News.
Baier was interviewing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. I would later learn it was the interview in which McConnell told Baier he’d “absolutely” support Trump if he ran again. But Trump was still frustrated with McConnell and how he’d mismanaged the Trump era, calling him a “stupid f-cker.”
Heh. That loud “ka-thump” sound you just heard was scores of genteel NeverTrumpTard “True” “Conservatives” such as David French, the pedo-enabling losers at the Lincoln Project offices, and Bill “The Pillsbury Doughboy, only completely unlikable” Krystol falling over in a dead swoon, so horrified were they by yet another coarse, rude, and of course perfectly accurate blast from the fiend who haunts their deepest, darkest nightmares.
This is a quite long piece, as you might expect from the partial chronicle of an interview spanning three sit-downs with a guy as voluble and irrepressible as Mr Preznit is. It’s also spellbinding—one of those can’t-stop-reading deals that, like a red-hot scorcher of a novel that has you staggering into work next morn all red-eyed, ragged, and zombie-like because it was just too compelling to put the thing down until you got to the last page.
Now as y’all already know, the bloom is pretty much off the Trump rose for me at this point. While I don’t by any means dislike the guy, I nonetheless find myself paying less and less attention these days to his doings and statements than once I did. That said, though, I devoured every word of this Federalist piece in one fell chomp, and enjoyed the meal too—YUUUUGELY, you might say. In addition to being a lively read throughout, Mollie interjects a few spicy tidbits of her own here and there, some of which you might not expect. For instance:
Despite his hyperbolic and imprecise rhetoric, and in our meetings it was regularly that, Trump understood the big picture problems with the 2020 election better than many of his critics. He knew that many of the changes that had been forced through states in 2020 were unconstitutional.
“The constitution of the United States says you cannot change any of your rules, regulations, or anything else, unless you go through the state legislatures,” he said, referring to Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which leaves the power to the state legislature to make the election laws. Pennsylvania had been one of the states that made major changes to election laws, arguably in violation of both the federal and state constitutions.
Trump told me a story about how Sen. Ben Sasse annoyed him right after the 2016 election by being unduly hostile at his initial meeting with the Senate GOP conference. “Terrible senator. This started right at the beginning,” he said, remembering how much time, in his view, the Nebraska senator had spent sniping in the wrong direction. “He’s actually stupid, ‘cause you know the problem with the Republicans is they don’t stick together. You don’t have Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse in the Democrat Party,” he said, while admitting Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., occasionally played a minor version of that role in his party.
A few years later, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz asked Trump to give Sasse another chance. “I say, ‘Keep him out. Guy’s a loser.’ So they said, ‘No, no, no. He wants to make peace.’” Sasse was trying to avoid a primary challenge at the time. “He was like a little boy. He was so well behaved. He didn’t say a word. And they made a case as to why I should let him back into the fold,” Trump said.
Combined with Sasse’s change of behavior to avoid a primary, Trump went on to endorse him. As soon as he won his primary, the old Sasse returned.
Enough with the excerpting, just go read every last tasty word of this. It’s funny, it’s fascinating, it’s lurid and salty in spots—in other words, it’s Trump at his very best. Take my word for it, friends: you will DEFINITELY miss out on something very much worth your while if you shine this one on. Good, good stuff, from start to finish.