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Kevin McCarthy swore at Trump over phone, said his supporters were trying to ‘kill’ him, new book says

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) spoke to then-President Trump during an event in Bakersfield, Calif., Feb. 19, 2020.DOUG MILLS/NYT

A number of new books about the Trump administration reveal former president Donald Trump’s thinking in high-pressure moments during his term, and document contentious exchanges among some of the highest-ranking government officials.

The snippets provide an inside look at explosive encounters between members of Trump’s Cabinet and White House officials on the Jan. 6 insurrection, the November election, and protests against racism and police brutality in some American cities, among other topics.

Here’s a look at the incendiary exchanges that have come to light in recent months.

Last updated: Wednesday, Oct. 12

Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Party Lost Its Mind”

In his upcoming book, journalist Robert Draper focuses on how the Republican Party has changed in the aftermath of the Trump presidency and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. From the attack on the Capitol to the 2022 midterms, he describes how a “new breed of Republicans” — led by elected officials like Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — are “far from moving on from Trump,” according to a description of the book, which is set to come out Oct. 18.

Kevin McCarthy swore over phone at Trump on Jan. 6

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Although the heated exchange between Trump and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Jan. 6, 2021, had been revealed already, Draper adds a dramatic new detail about McCarthy’s side of the conversation, “one that makes his later submission to Trump even more undignifying,” according to Politico, which published an excerpt from the book.

Draper reported that Trump and McCarthy spoke on the phone shortly before 3 p.m. on the day of the attack.

“Well, Kevin,” Trump said to McCarthy, according to the excerpt. “I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”

“More upset?” McCarthy yelled back, according to the excerpt. “They’re trying to [expletive] kill me!”

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“Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America”

A new book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman called “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America” was released on Tuesday and sheds new light on the mindset of former president Donald Trump in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election.

CNN published reporting from the book in September, both about what followed the pivotal election and new details concerning Trump’s business practices. Several excerpts were also published ahead of the book’s release, including by the Washington Post, CNN, the Rolling Stone, and others. The Atlantic also released a piece written by Haberman titled “Three Conversations with Donald Trump.”

Trump and his team tried to make White House transition difficult for Biden

In the waning days of his presidency, Trump’s team attempted to sabotage the Biden administration, according to excerpts published by Politico.

Haberman wrote that a staffer for John McEntee, who served as the director of the Presidential Personnel Office, stuffed copies of photos of Hunter Biden into the air conditioning unit at the White House. The unit broke as a result.

Haberman also wrote that top members of Biden’s team were perplexed by how members of the Trump administration were acting.

Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, said he was working to ease the transition while simultaneously appearing to “encourage the cohort of Trump world figures pushing to keep the president in office,” according to the excerpt.

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“I know the president’s saying these things… we’ll get it worked out,” Meadows, who was referring to Trump’s claims about election integrity, told his successor, Ron Klain, according to the excerpt.

While seeming to assuage concerns, Meadows was also texting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, about the election. She was actively disputing election results and pushing conspiracy theories about it.

“This is a fight of good versus evil,” Meadows told Thomas, according to the excerpt.

Haberman wrote that Meadows also complicated matters for Biden’s team in other ways, including refusing to grant them access to a computer system they needed to begin working on Biden’s budget.

During another instance, Klain told Meadows that Biden needed to start receiving the intelligence briefing. But the response he received baffled him. Meadows asked Klain how many days a week Biden wanted the briefing, to which Klain said every day.

“No president ever does that. That’s never happened,” Meadows told Klain, according to the excerpt. “It seemed so beyond Meadows’ own experience that he could not comprehend it.”

Trump wanted to wear a Superman shirt after COVID hospitalization

When Trump was about to be discharged after receiving treatment for the coronavirus, he had an idea to make a bold statement about his recovery — although he later abandoned it, according to an excerpt published by Axios.

Although he later abandoned it, Trump “told associates [he] was inspired by the singer James Brown, whom he loved watching toss off his cape while onstage, but it was in line with his love of professional wrestling as well,” Haberman wrote.

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He wanted to be “wheeled out of Walter Reed in a chair and, once outdoors, he would dramatically stand up, then open his button-down dress shirt to reveal [a] Superman logo beneath it,” according to the excerpt.

Trump, who was serious about the plan, Haberman wrote, “called the campaign headquarters to instruct an aide, Max Miller, to procure the Superman shirts.” Miller was sent off to a big-box store in Virginia.

He returned to the White House in October 2020 on Marine One following a three-day stay at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Trump wanted Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump to depart the White House

Trump regularly pitted aides and family members against one another, according to an excerpt published by the Washington Post on Wednesday.

For instance, Haberman wrote that Trump often told then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that he wanted his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump to leave the White House.

“In meetings with Kelly and [White House Counsel Don] McGahn, Trump gave instructions to essentially fire the pair. Kelly and McGahn resisted, expressing their fear that he would not back them once his daughter and son-in-law pushed back,” Haberman wrote. “At one point, Trump was about to write on Twitter that his daughter and son-in-law were leaving the White House.”

Kelly stopped Trump from sending the tweet, and told him that he “had to talk to them directly before doing so,” Haberman wrote. Trump agreed, but “then never followed up with the conversation.”

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CNN also published an excerpt on Wednesday about how Trump nearly fired Kushner and Ivanka. Although he never did, Trump often diminished and mocked Kushner, Haberman wrote, including when Kushner spoke during congressional testimony in 2017.

Trump saw staffers of color at White House and assumed they were waiters

Haberman describes incidents of Trump expressing crass and offensive remarks about race and gender throughout the book, according to an excerpt published by Rolling Stone on Wednesday.

One of those moments occurred when a newly inaugurated Trump was holding a reception at the White House to meet with top congressional leaders. When Trump turned to several “racially diverse Democratic staffers,” he asked them to retrieve the canapés, according to the excerpt.

“Why don’t you get” the food, Trump told staffers for Senator Chuck Schumer, Representative Nancy Pelosi, and others, according to the excerpt.

Haberman wrote that then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus immediately corrected him and informed him that he had just addressed top congressional aides. Priebus then left to find White House waitstaff.

Later on during that same meeting, Trump also told Schumer and Pelosi that the only reason why he lost the 2016 popular vote to Hillary Clinton was because of ballots cast by “illegals,” according to the excerpt.

“I don’t believe so, Mr. President,” Pelosi said, according to the excerpt.

Trump resisted denouncing white supremacists

During the 2016 campaign, Trump was under pressure to more forcefully denounce white supremacists, particularly David Duke, who had expressed support for Trump.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie urged Trump to condemn white supremacists during one conversation, but Trump told him he was not in a rush to do so, according to the excerpt published by the Post.

“A lot of these people vote,” Trump told Christie before he ended the call, according to the excerpt.

Trump weighed bombing drug labs in Mexico

Trump considered bombing drugs labs in Mexico after one of his leading health officials entered the Oval Office while wearing a dress uniform, which led Trump to believe the official, assistant secretary for health Brett Giroir, was a member of the military, according to the excerpt published by the Post.

While there, Giroir told Trump that such facilities should be handled by putting “lead to target” to stop the flow of illegal drugs across the border into the United States, according to the excerpt.

“[Trump] raised it several times, eventually asking a stunned Defense Secretary Mark Esper whether the United States could indeed bomb the labs,” Haberman wrote.

Giroir often wore his dress uniform for meetings with Trump, White House officials told Haberman. This confused Trump.

“The response from White House aides was not to try to change Trump’s view, but to consider asking Giroir not to wear his uniform to the Oval Office anymore,” Haberman wrote.

Giroir told the Post that he “does not comment on such private conversations with Trump.”

Trump feared the impact the pandemic would have on his presidency

When the coronavirus pandemic became a major issue in early 2020, Trump downplayed the virus and its effects in public. But in private, he cast himself as the victim and privately acknowledged its severity, according to the excerpt published by the Post.

“Can you believe this happened to me?” he said, according to the excerpt. He feared the political impact the virus would have on his presidency.

Haberman also wrote that Trump was scared of dying and how his condition worsened after he was infected with the virus.

“Deputy chief of staff of operations Tony Ornato warned the president that if he fell into a more dire situation, procedures to ensure the continuity of government would have to be set into motion,” Haberman wrote.

Despite that, Haberman wrote that Trump was appalled by face coverings and told his aides to remove them when they were around him in 2020.

He also wanted credit for the vaccines, but said he could not get it because of the “radical right” — in a reference to his own supporters, according to the excerpt.

Trump also told aides, those in his political orbit, and other politicians to avoid talking about the coronavirus, out of concern it would harm him politically, according to the excerpt.

“Don’t make such a big deal out of this,” Trump told then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during a conversation in March 2020, according to the excerpt. “You’re gonna make it a problem.”

Trump bashed his supporters: ‘They’re [expletive] crazy’

Trump repeatedly launched criticisms at his own customers and supporters, Haberman wrote in the excerpt published in The Atlantic. On one occasion, he referred to those spending money on the floor of the Trump Plaza casino as “losers” while talking with his consultant, Tom O’Neil.

While serving in the White House, Trump was “stunned at his own backers’ fervor,” and told his aides, “They’re [expletive] crazy,” Haberman wrote. But because “they loved him,” she wrote, that was all that mattered to him.

After he was defeated in the 2020 election, Trump immediately turned to those same “ardent fans for support” in his efforts to raise money off his claims of fraud, Haberman wrote.

Trump called Mitch McConnell a ‘piece of [expletive]’

Haberman wrote that “strength” was of high importance to Trump, playing a role in how he approached his career in the real estate business. Citing examples of those he viewed as powerful leaders, Trump referred to both Democratic Party boss Meade Esposito and China’s President Xi Jinping as having ruled “with an iron fist.”

When Haberman asked Trump if he thought the presidency would function the same way, he instead said that is how he believed congressional leaders would act on his behalf, according to the excerpt published in The Atlantic.

He then proceeded to blast Mitch McConnell despite his repeated efforts to keep “Republican senators in line over and over to advance Trump’s policy” and “protect his political standing as the leader of the Republican Party,” Haberman wrote.

“The Old Crow’s a piece of [expletive],” Trump said of McConnell, using what Haberman wrote was “his new favorite nickname” for him.

Trump said he would likely still run for president if he had to do it again

In what Haberman referred to as a candid admission that “was as jarring as it was ultimately unsurprising,” Trump said he would probably still run for president again if he had to do it all over, citing the wealthy people in his circle, according to the excerpt published in The Atlantic.

“The question I get asked more than any other question: ‘If you had it to do again, would you have done it?’” Trump said of running for president. “The answer is, yeah, I think so. Because here’s the way I look at it. I have so many rich friends and nobody knows who they are.”

Haberman wrote that Trump then went on to “talk about how much easier his life would have been had he not run.”

When she asked him what he liked about being president, according to the excerpt, Trump responded: “Getting things done.”

Trump said he was not watching television during the attack on the Capitol

Trump’s actions while the Capitol was under assault from his supporters during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection have come under intense scrutiny — emerging as “central to the congressional select committee’s investigation,” Haberman wrote.

He insisted during an interview with Haberman that “he was not watching television, despite volumes of witness testimony and other evidence to the contrary,” according to the excerpt published in the Atlantic.

“I didn’t usually have the television on. I’d have it on if there was something. I then later turned it on and I saw what was happening,” he said, according to the excerpt.

Haberman wrote that he “lied” during that part of their conversation.

“I had heard that afterward and actually on the late side. I was having meetings. I was also with Mark Meadows and others. I was not watching television,” Trump said, according to the excerpt.

Trump said he took ‘nothing of great urgency’ when asked about White House documents

Trump taking classified documents from the White House upon departing and bringing them to his Mar-a-Lago Club has become one of the largest storylines to emerge in the aftermath of his presidency.

When Haberman asked Trump if he had “taken any documents of note,” she wrote that he demurred and said he took “nothing of great urgency, no.” Trump then mentioned letters that Kim Jong-un had sent him, according to the excerpt published in The Atlantic.

“You were able to take those with you?” Haberman asked him, according to the excerpt. Trump continued to keep talking.

“No, I think that’s in the archives, but … Most of it is in the archives, but the Kim Jong-un letters … We have incredible things,” Trump said, according to the excerpt.

He did not return the letters “— which were included in boxes he had brought to Mar-a-Lago — to the National Archives until months later,” Haberman wrote.

Trump was once allegedly paid by a leaseholder in gold bars

The former president occasionally received portions of lease payments in cash, Haberman reported. This included one instance when a leaseholder sent Trump a box of a dozen gold bricks.

The person sent the gold bars in order to “cover the cash portion of the lease on the parking garage in the General Motors building in Manhattan, which Trump purchased in 1998,” according to the reporting obtained by CNN.

Trump, however, told his aides that he didn’t know what to do with the gold bars, Haberman reported. He ended up directing Matthew Calamari, a former security guard and later the organizations’s chief operating officer, “to wheel the bars up to his apartment in Trump Tower.”

Haberman reported that it’s unclear what happened to the gold bricks. She wrote that Trump called it a “fantasy question,” and that a lawyer for Calamari declined to comment.

Trump’s financial situation was more precarious than people realized

Former officials told Haberman that Trump’s financial situation at his company was often more dicey than most people knew.

Haberman reported that at one point, Trump allegedly borrowed several million dollars from George Ross, an executive with the Trump Organization. Ross told Haberman that he did loan Trump the money, but said it was to “cover a situation that was disposed of very quickly” rather than for payroll expenses.

Trump was more involved during a situation with the SEC than the company let on

Haberman reported that when Trump’s hotel and casino company was rebuked by the Securities and Exchange Commission over a misleading earnings statement, he was more involved than the company made known.

Jay Goldberg, who was serving as Trump’s lawyer at the time, blamed company officials for the misleading projections in 1999, according to the reporting. He insisted that Trump was not involved.

However, Haberman reported, a former company consultant named Alan Marcus said Trump personally marked up a draft of the release that was being looked at. Marcus said Trump did so in order to make the existing projections appear better than they were, according to the reporting.

Haberman reported that Trump denied that account.

Trump said his New York business dealings had to sometimes interact with the mob

Trump told Haberman in an interview that his business dealings in New York meant that his organization would sometimes have to interact with the mob. However, Haberman reported, Trump downplayed how aware he was about the interactions.

“Well, anybody that built in New York City, whether you dealt with them indirectly, or didn’t even know they existed, they did exist,” Trump said. “Well, you dealt, you had contractors and you don’t know if they were mob or controlled or maybe not controlled, but I will tell you getting bids sometimes is very tough. You’d get one bid, it’d be a high end disappointing bid. And then there was nobody else to bid.”

Trump vowed to stay in the White House following election loss

In the days following his election loss, Trump repeatedly told aides that he would remain in the White House instead of allowing President Biden to take over, Haberman reported. His insistence on staying has not been previously reported.

“I’m just not going to leave,” he told one aide, according to Haberman.

“We’re never leaving,” Trump allegedly told another. “How can you leave when you won an election?”

Trump was seemingly embarrassed by the outcome of the election and even appeared to recognize that he had lost to Biden, according to Haberman. At one point, Trump asked his advisers to inform him on what had gone wrong.

“We did our best,” Trump told one adviser, according to Haberman.

“I thought we had it,” he also reportedly said to junior press aides.

But his mood eventually shifted, Haberman reported, and Trump started telling his aides that he had no plans to depart the White House in January 2021. People in his circle were uncertain about what steps Trump would take next.

“Why should I leave if they stole it from me?” he was overheard saying to Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, according to Haberman.

Jared Kushner was reluctant to confront Trump on the loss

In her book, Haberman also details what those closest to Trump were doing and thinking following his election loss.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was reluctant to confront him about it, according to Haberman. After he encouraged a group of aides to brief Trump at the White House, Kushner was asked why he wasn’t joining them for the meeting.

Haberman reported that Kushner likened the situation to a deathbed scene.

“The priest comes later,” Kushner said, according to Haberman.


“A Sacred Oath”

Former defense secretary Mark Esper alleges in his book that Trump suggested shooting protesters who had gathered near the White House following the police killing of George Floyd in June 2020, according to Axios.

“Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?” Trump reportedly said.

The moment “was surreal, sitting in front of the Resolute desk, inside the Oval Office, with this idea weighing heavily in the air, and the president red faced and complaining loudly about the protests under way in Washington, D.C.,” Esper wrote in “A Sacred Oath.”

“The good news — this wasn’t a difficult decision,” Esper continued, according to Axios. “The bad news — I had to figure out a way to walk Trump back without creating the mess I was trying to avoid.”

Esper’s account echoes scenes depicted in another book about Trump’s tenure, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost” by journalist Michael Bender. Bender wrote that Trump endorsed responding with violence to the 2020 protests in multiple American cities, saying he wanted the military to “beat the [expletive] out of people” and “just shoot them.”

When Trump’s remarks faced pushback at the time from Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley and Attorney General William Barr, the then-president suggested shooting protesters in the legs or feet, Bender reported.

Axios reported that Esper’s book was thoroughly vetted. The book was reviewed in parts or as a whole by “nearly three dozen 4-star generals, senior civilians, and some Cabinet members,” some of whom had witnessed what Esper wrote, Axios reported.

In November 2021, Esper sued the Department of Defense over the book, accusing the Pentagon of “censoring” his First Amendment rights by blocking the publication of certain parts of the book.

Trump fired Esper in November 2020, shortly after Trump lost the election.


“This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future”

A book from New York Times political reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns provides an account of the 2020 election and President Biden’s first year in office, offering insight into how both the Republican and Democratic parties confronted major national events including the coronavirus pandemic and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.

“This Will Not Pass” is based on hundreds of interviews, previously unseen documents, and audio recordings. Excerpts of the book, along with adaptations of its source material, have been reported out or published in the lead-up to its release date on May 3.

Trump refused to release disaster aid to governors unless they asked ‘nicely’

Former President Trump made a habit of forcing governors to flatter him personally in order to receive federal aid following natural disasters, according to an excerpt of the book obtained by the Independent.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, claimed that Trump had a policy in which only Texas and Florida, two states with governors he considered to be close allies, would receive federal aid without question when needed, according to the excerpt.

As for the other states, Hogan said in the book that Trump told governors, “You have to call and ask me nicely,” according to the excerpt.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, described a similar experience to Martin and Burns when his state was in a need of federal disaster aid following a powerful storm in August 2020.

He reached out to the White House about receiving assistance, according to the excerpt, and was surprised to find himself on a call with Trump himself hours later.

“There’s something you want me to ask about FEMA?” Trump asked Lamont, according to the excerpt.

When Lamont inquired about FEMA aid, Trump responded: “Well, ask me nicely.”

Lamont told Trump “it would mean a lot to the people that [he represents] every day” if he “could bring it upon [himself]” to authorize aid, according to the excerpt.

“You got it,” Trump said.

McConnell said he was ‘exhilarated’ that Jan. 6 attack ‘discredited’ Trump

Hours after loyalists to then-President Trump laid siege to the Capitol in an effort to block Joe Biden from being certified as president, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described himself as “exhilarated” over the potential damage to Trump and his standing, according to an excerpt of the book obtained by the Washington Post.

“I feel exhilarated by the fact that this fellow finally, totally discredited himself,” McConnell reportedly told Martin, one of the authors of the book, when he was asked about his perspective on the violence that occurred.

He added that Trump was “pretty thoroughly discredited by this” according to the excerpt.

“He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger,” McConnell said to Martin in the excerpt. “Couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

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McConnell told Senate GOP leaders that they ‘got to stay focused on Georgia’

Tension reportedly brewed between then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and then-President Trump as a result of Trump’s efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral victory so that he could remain in the White House for a second term.

One of the most pressing concerns for McConnell, according to an excerpt of the book provided to CNN, was that Trump would sabotage the GOP’s chances of holding on to their slim majority in the Senate by interfering with the critical runoff elections in Georgia.

Trump believed that if he successfully pressured Republican Governor Brian Kemp to decertify Biden’s narrow win in the state, he would be able to convince officials in other states like Pennsylvania and Michigan to follow suit, according to the book. He reportedly told McConnell and other top GOP leaders that he had been on the phone with officials in those states and that they said they would move to keep him in power.

“I’ve been calling folks in those states and they’re with us,” Trump reportedly told top Republicans during a private phone call in December 2020.

“We’ve got to stay focused on Georgia,” McConnell, who was hoping to shift the attention of the party away from Trump and his conspiracy theories, reportedly told his colleagues immediately after their conversation with him ended.

McConnell referred to some in Trump’s inner orbit as ‘clowns’

Prior to McConnell acknowledging that Biden had won the presidential election following the certification of the electoral results during a speech on the Senate floor in December 2020, he avoided publicly criticizing Trump and his baseless claims about voter fraud and the election being “stolen” from him.

He refrained from saying anything out of fear it would result in Trump becoming so infuriated that he would purposefully try to derail the campaigns of then-Georgia Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who were fighting to remain in control of their seats, according to the book.

During the call with Republican leaders that December, Trump had told the senators that voters in Georgia would not believe Kemp that the election had been secure and that both Perdue and Loeffler should not tolerate his assurances either. He reportedly said they would lose their seats if they did.

In an interview with Martin and Burns that same month, McConnell said Trump was looking for a scapegoat ahead of the runoffs.

“What it looks to me like he’s doing is setting this up so he can blame the governor and the secretary of state if we lose,” McConnell said. “He’s always setting up somebody to blame it on.”

He also bashed some of those in Trump’s inner circle, including his attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, who were aiding him in his attempt to reverse the outcome of the election.

“Everybody around him, except for clowns like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, are trying to get him to do the right thing,” McConnell reportedly said during the interview. He was referring to the attempts of those who were trying to get Trump to accept the fact he had lost.


“I’ll Take Your Questions Now”

Trump told Putin that his tough stance was for the cameras

A book by former press secretary Stephanie Grisham, one of the longest-serving aides in the Trump administration, alleges that during the 2019 meeting between the leaders at the Group of 20 Summit, Trump informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that he was going to be stern “for the cameras.”

“Okay, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes. But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave we’ll talk. You understand,” Trump reportedly told Putin, according to multiple outlets that obtained a copy of the book.

Details about Melania Trump’s time as first lady

Following her stint as press secretary in the Trump administration, Grisham returned to Melania Trump’s office, where she began her White House tenure, allowing her insight into the relationship between the first lady and the president.

Grisham writes that Melania was angry after reports surfaced about her husband’s alleged affair with Stormy Daniels and hush money payments to cover it up.

“After the Stormy Daniels story broke and all the allegations that followed from other women, I felt that Mrs. Trump was basically unleashed,” Grisham write, according to The New York Times.

As a result, Melania reportedly left her husband out of photos and tweets and arrived to his first State of the Union address holding the arm of a handsome military aide Grisham picked, according to The Washington Post, because Melania said the floors of the Capitol were too slippery.

“I laughed to myself because I’d seen the woman navigate dirt roads in her heels,” Grisham wrote in the book, according to the Post.

Grisham writes that Melania didn’t believe her husband’s denials of the affair, but was mostly dismissive about them.

“This is Donald’s problem. He got himself into this mess. He can fix it by himself,” Melania said, according to the Post.

Grisham also sheds light on the fallout from Melania’s visit to a camp for child migrants in Texas in 2018, when she wore a jacket with “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” written on the back.

According to the Post, Melania and Grisham huddled for a damage-control session on the plane, Grisham wrote. When they returned to the White House, an aide told the two that the president wanted to see them, Grisham wrote, and Trump yelled at her about the decision in front of staff.

Trump asked “what the [expletive]” they thought they were doing, according to the Post, and came up with the idea to tweet a cover story about the jacket, saying it was a message directed to the media.


“Peril”

Top general made secret calls to his Chinese counterpart because he feared Trump may provoke war

In a book published Sept. 21, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa report that General Mark Milley, fearful of Trump’s actions late in his term, twice called his Chinese counterpart to assure him that the United States was not going to attack China. One call took place on Oct. 30, four days before the American election. The second call was on Jan. 8, less than two weeks before Biden’s inauguration and two days after the insurrection at the Capitol by supporters of Trump.

“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told General Li Zuocheng in the first call, according to the book, excerpts of which were published in the Washington Post. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”

According to the Post, Milley also told the Chinese general that he would warn him first if the US did launch an attack on China.

“General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise,” Milley reportedly said.

The book’s authors also reported on a call between Milley and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the days after the Jan. 6 insurrection, in which he told Pelosi that he believed Trump had suffered a “mental decline” after the election.


“Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost”

Trump comments on Hitler

Former president Donald Trump told his then-chief of staff John Kelly during a 2018 trip to Europe that Adolf Hitler “did a lot of good things,” a new book by the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender alleges.

According to The Guardian, which obtained a copy of Bender’s “Frankly, We Did Win This Election,” Trump made the remark during a trip to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and Kelly was “stunned” by the comment.

The comment took place during an “impromptu history lesson” in which Kelly “reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and “connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities,” according to the book.

Liz Harrington, a Trump spokeswoman, denied Trump made the comment in a statement to The Guardian.

“This is totally false,” the statement said. “President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired.”

Bender, citing unnamed sources, reported that Kelly “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred,” and emphasized Germany’s economic recovery under Hitler during the 1930s.

Kelly pushed back again on Trump’s comments, the book claims, and told him that “the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.” Kelly also told Trump he “cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.”

Hitler was responsible for the Holocaust, the systematic murder of more than six million Jews during World War II.

Trump suggests the military intervene in American cities

Another excerpt from the book reveals that during Oval Office meetings, Trump suggested the military intervene violently in protests in Seattle and Portland last summer, prompting pushback from the country’s top general.

The conversations outlined in the excerpts, which were obtained by CNN, include Trump discussing videos of police physically engaging with protesters and saying he wanted to see more of that, the book alleges.

“That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people,” Trump reportedly said to his top law enforcement and military officials, according to the book. “Crack their skulls!”

Trump also said he wanted the military to go in and “beat the [expletive] out” of the protesters, the book says.

“Just shoot them,” Trump said multiple times, according to the excerpts.

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley and Attorney General William Barr then pushed back on Trump’s comments.

“Well, shoot them in the leg, or maybe the foot,” Trump said in response, according to the excerpts. “But be hard on them!”

The excerpts also describe a contentious exchange between Milley and Stephen Miller, a senior adviser and close ally to the president. During a conversation in the Oval Office, Miller described the scenes on TV of the protests as similar to those that unfold in developing countries and said American cities had been turned into war zones, the book alleges.

“These cities are burning,” Miller reportedly said.

The comment enraged Milley, according to the book.

“Shut the [expletive] up, Stephen,” Milley said.


“Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency”

Trump’s reaction to the insurrection

Previews of the book by journalist Michael Wolff describe discussions surrounding how the White House should respond as the Jan. 6 insurrection unfolded and Trump’s comments to advisers in the hours after the violence, as well as Trump bashing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

One snippet, published in New York Magazine on June 28, also reveals Trump saying he “didn’t mean it literally” when he said during his Jan. 6 speech before the breach of the Capitol that he would join his supporters in marching to the building.

A secret service agent approached White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who confronted Trump about the comments when he finished his speech. But the president seemed unsure what Meadows was referring to, according to the excerpt.

“How would we do that?” Meadows reportedly said to Trump. “We can’t organize that. We can’t.”

“I didn’t mean it literally,” Trump responded.

After the violent mob broke into the Capitol, Trump reportedly said in a phone call with an adviser that his supporters looked like “idiots,” according to the book.

“This looks terrible,” Trump told adviser Jason Miller hours after the violence. “This is really bad. Who are these people? These aren’t our people, these idiots with these outfits. They look like Democrats.”

As Miller began to push Trump toward committing to a statement that suggested the administration would cooperate with the incoming Biden administration, Trump also appeared to shirk responsibility for the attack on the Capitol.

“We didn’t tell people to do something like this,” Trump told Miller, according to the book. “We told people to be peaceful. I even said ‘peaceful’ and ‘patriotic’ in my speech!”

Trump blasts Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh

A Tuesday report by Axios previews an interview between Trump and Wolff in which Trump says he is disappointed in votes cast by Kavanaugh, who Trump nominated to serve on the highest court.

“There were so many others I could have appointed, and everyone wanted me to,” Trump reportedly told Wolff.

Trump also said he “saved” Kavanaugh, according to the book. In 2018, Kavanaugh faced an uncertain Senate confirmation after Christine Blasey Ford came forward to accuse him of sexual assault when they were teenagers and testified about her experience.

“Where would he be without me?” Trump said to Wolff, according the book. “I saved his life. He wouldn’t even be in a law firm. Who would have had him? Nobody. Totally disgraced. Only I saved him.”


“Betrayal”

Barr’s heated conversation with Trump

In a story published June 27, former Attorney General William Barr tells ABC News’ chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl that he thought Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud were meritless.

In the interview, conducted for a forthcoming book by Karl and published in The Atlantic, Barr told Karl that he wasn’t surprised by the outcome of the November election, because he thought Trump would lose. He said he expected that Trump would approach him about the allegations of fraud.

Barr launched an unofficial inquiry into some of Trump’s claims, despite feeling that it wasn’t true.

“My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr said. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all [expletive].”

The interview details a heated conversation between Trump and Barr after Barr told an Associated Press reporter in December that there was not widespread fraud in the election that would have changed the outcome.

“I think you’ve noticed I haven’t been talking to you much,” Trump said to Barr, according to the interview. “I’ve been leaving you alone.”

Trump then asked Barr if he made those comments to the AP reporter, and Barr responded that he did.

“How the [expletive] could you do this to me? Why did you say it?” Trump asked him.

“Because it’s true,” Barr responded.

“You must hate Trump,” the president replied, referring to himself in the third person. “You must hate Trump.”

During the conversation, Trump referenced other examples of what he thought was election fraud, and Barr responded by calling the lawyers on the president’s team tasked with fighting the election results in court a “clown show.”

“You know, you only have five weeks, Mr. President, after an election to make legal challenges,” Barr said to him, according to the book. “This would have taken a crackerjack team with a really coherent and disciplined strategy. Instead, you have a clown show. No self-respecting lawyer is going anywhere near it. It’s just a joke. That’s why you are where you are.”

Trump reportedly responded: “You may be right about that.”

After the confrontation, Barr agreed to stay on as attorney general, but then regretted the choice to stick around, Karl reports. Two weeks later, Barr went to the White House to tell Trump he was going to resign.


“I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year”

Trump’s ‘apoplectic’ reaction to election results

An excerpt of a book by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker published July 20 sets the scene inside the White House on Election Day in 2020, describing multiple White House officials growing concerned with the election forecast as the night wore on and the conversations that led to Trump’s early morning speech in which he prematurely declared victory and cast doubt on the integrity of the results.

According to the excerpt, published in The Washington Post, Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and Barr were worried about Trump’s reelection prospects as precincts continued to report results.

The book also described Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and the former mayor of New York City, pushing Trump to declare victory in multiple states as votes were still being counted, drawing pushback from Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Giuliani encouraged the campaign to say Trump had won Michigan and Pennsylvania, and Meadows responded by raising his voice and saying: “We can’t do that,” according to the book.

Later in the night, Giuliani encouraged Trump to declare victory again after Fox News became the first major network to call the state of Arizona in favor of Biden. The book details Trump’s outrage and a campaign by top officials, including Trumps’ son-in-law Jared Kushner, to get the network to reverse the announcement.

“What the [expletive] is Fox doing?” Trump reportedly screamed, while requesting Kushner call members of the Murdoch family, which owns Fox. A number of people in the White House reached out to Fox officials, including on-air personalities Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

The book describes Trump and his family becoming “apoplectic” as the night continued and results came in, with Trump falsely claiming “they’re stealing this thing from us” and questioning why votes were still being counted.

The book also revealed how Trump’s defense secretary, Mark Esper, a lifelong Republican, told people close to him that he was rooting for Biden to win as he watched election coverage, even telling a friend “It looks good” as results in Biden’s favor came in.

Top military general feared Trump would try to use the military to stay in office after the election

Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was frequently concerned with how Trump would react if he lost the November election, reportedly telling aides he was afraid Trump would try to use the military to remain in office.

As Trump baselessly alleged election fraud, Milley compared Trump’s language to the 1933 attack on Germany’s parliament building, which Hitler used to gain power, according to a preview of the exchange published in The Washington Post on Thursday. Milley’s concerns were first reported by CNN, which obtained a copy of the book.

“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides, according to the book. “The gospel of the Führer.”

A spokesperson for Milley declined to comment to The Washington Post. Trump issued a statement on Thursday denying he ever planned a “coup.”

On Nov. 10, after a security briefing about a pro-Trump march protesting the election results, Milley reportedly said he was concerned about “brownshirts in the streets,” a reference to members of the militia that aided Hitler’s rise to power.

That night, a friend called Milley to say they were concerned Trump’s allies were attempting to “overturn the government,” according to the book.

Milley was so disturbed by the conversation that he called former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who Trump fired in 2018 after he had served in the administration for a little more than a year, and asked if a coup was forthcoming.

“What the [expletive] am I dealing with?” Milley asked McMaster, according to the book.

Milley, shaken by the conversations, began informally planning with other military leaders how they would stop Trump’s order to use the military in a way they felt was dangerous or illegal. To gain control of the government, someone would have to take over the CIA, FBI, and the Defense Department, all places where there were Trump-aligned officials, Milley thought, according to the book.

“They may try, but they’re not going to [expletive] succeed,” Milley reportedly told some of his closest deputies.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1. Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.