In the early morning of November 4, twelve people yelled at Donald Trump, who was “confused and frustrated”. In the end, he only listened to one of them.
In the latest book about Donald Trump, the most interesting person is not the former president. This is not Trump’s family, nor any White House staff trying to quietly restore reputation, nor any person in power.
This is Saundra Kiczenski, a 50-year-old employee who works in the courtyard and garden department of Wal-Mart in northern Michigan.
Frankly speaking, we did win this election: the inside story of how Trump failed In most cases, it’s exactly what it says on the cover: Behind the scenes breakdown Mr. Trump’s The last year of turmoil came to power.
Like other descriptions of Trump’s presidency, it is full of disturbing and occasionally shocking anecdotes that provide new insights into Mr. Trump’s White House dysfunction and the character of the former president himself. clue.
But the author, Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, Weave these revelations around the story of Jos in the front row, a group of Mr. Trump’s most loyal supporters.
Ms. Kiczenski is one of their founding members.
During Mr. Trump’s 2016 candidacy and his presidency, Jos in the front row followed him all over the country, like a fan of their favorite rock band.
I know that this analogy sounds cliché, but it’s actually quite appropriate. Mr. Trump rarely speaks new things at his political rallies. Usually he only plays the hottest songs, like an old band playing in the old songs in a loop to eliminate the audience’s nostalgia.
And this is exactly how Trump’s die-hard supporters like it. Some Front Row Joes participated in his more than 50 rallies, and they usually ranked first, often appearing a few days before the event.
Through the stories of Ms. Kitzenski and her friends, Bender explains to some extent Mr. Trump’s enduring appeal and why lies, scandals or screw-ups cannot cut his connection with millions of Americans. .
Front Row Joes are compassionate figures; basically decent people have found greater goals and a new sense of community when they support Mr. Trump together.
“Sandra’s life has become greater because of Trump,” the author pointed out.
But we also saw the dark side of his influence. Mr. Trump used and manipulated these people without regret and was indifferent to the harm he caused.
after that Coronavirus pandemic During the attack, Randal Thom, a member of the organization, became seriously ill due to “high fever and congestion that made people weak.” Symptoms of Covid.
“He was convinced that he was infected with the coronavirus, but refused to go to the hospital. He did not want to be tested for Covid, nor did he want to increase the number of cases under Trump’s supervision,” Bender wrote.
“I will not increase these numbers,” Mr. Tom said.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly complained that the increasing number of Covid infections and deaths recorded in public data makes him look bad.
Mr. Tom took his own health risk and refused to accept treatment for a fatal disease to prevent the number of infections from rising. He seems to be more concerned with protecting Mr. Trump’s small political interests than protecting his life.
Is this what Mr. Trump wants? Maybe not. Indifference is the point here. The president is too narcissistic, too obsessed with his political troubles, unable to stop and think about the possible consequences of his words in the real world.
A leader who is not so selfish will consider the epidemic to be a public health problem and will encourage Americans to be tested and go to the hospital, no matter what effect this has on government statistics.
It’s really simple: if more cases are detected and more people are treated, the number of deaths will decrease. This is why Australia’s prime ministers celebrate the day when the detection rate is unusually high.
So far, the statements of every insider, including Bender, have made it very clear that Mr. Trump has instead regarded Covid as a political issue, posing a threat to his re-election.
Therefore, he did not deal with it correctly, but insisted that it was exaggerated and was on the cusp of “leave” until Election Day.
His supporters believe him.
in his The notorious Tulsa rallyIn the presence of Mr. Tom, Mr. Trump said he had told his staff to “slow down the test speed”.
His supporters listened.
There is a sad fact at the core of MAGA, which is shared by most admirers: this relationship is not reciprocal. Hardcore fans like Mr. Tom care more about Mr. Trump and the movement than themselves.
At the same time, Mr. Trump cares more about himself than them.
At the end of the book, Ms. Kitzenski stands outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, observing a scene that shocks the world: a group of anti-democratic mobs swarms, decorating it with Trump flags, and tear gas hanging in the air. .
She is not afraid of what she sees. She is very proud.
“Sandra was inspired by Trump’s power and patriotism vision: in the distance is the Washington Monument and the majestic Capitol in the foreground. Freedom-loving patriots do their best to prevent stolen and fraudulent elections and liberate their country. And save their president,” Bender said.
And this sentence comes from Ms. Kiczenski herself.
“It looks neat. We are not here to steal. We are not here to cause harm. We are just to overthrow the government.”
Hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed into the Capitol (to be clear, Ms. Kichensky was not among them, she stayed outside) have been arrested and charged with crimes. Some people will spend some time in prison.
Two other people died in the chaos, including Mr. Trump’s current Air Force veteran Ashley Babbitt (Ashli) Strive to be a martyr.
“Who shot Ashley Babbitt?” He kept asking.
The answer is that Ms. Babbitt was shot and killed by a congressional police officer who did not want to be named when she tried to force through a door with a barricade and into the Speaker’s Hall near the House of Representatives.
But on a more fundamental level, ask yourself why Ms. Babbitt was shot. Why is this “naive, wonderful, incredible woman”, as Mr. Trump called it, even there? What forced her to join the group of thugs, confront the police, and break into the Capitol in search of traitorous politicians?
She was attracted there Mr. Trump’s lie about the election. He told his supporters that it had been stolen. He urged them to come to Washington and march in Congress. He told them that Vice President Mike Pence had the right to unilaterally overthrow his failure.
This is nonsense, Mr. Pence told him this at least “a dozen times” in private. However, when Mr. Pence issued a statement saying that he would not reject the Electoral College vote, the people at Mr. Trump’s rally near the White House on January 6 were truly shocked.
Soon after, when the crowd poured into the Capitol, the slogan “Hang Mike Pence” sounded.
“If Mike Pence comes out of that building, I promise he will die,” Ms. Kitzenski said.
“If it weren’t for the gunfire, he would have been beaten. They were going to kill him in the street.”
Let it sink in for a while. “They are going to kill him in the street.” This is not what the “free media” said. I’m not saying. It comes from one of Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters.
If Mr. Trump accepts the election results and encourages a peaceful transition of power, as every other defeated president in American history has allowed himself to do, none of this will happen.
Ms. Babbitt will not be in Washington on January 6. She is still alive. Other Trump supporters who are now facing imprisonment will be free.
But he did not reflect on his own role in what happened. There is no sign that he feels guilty. Did not admit that he was responsible for the suffering caused by his loyal supporters, let alone other parts of the country. He just does. It’s not. concern.
When Bender visited Mr. Trump for his last interview with the former president, he had been hanging out at his Sea Lake Manor, playing several rounds of golf, enjoying the compliments of his paying guests, and complaining that he did not get enough Trust (allegedly) saved eight Republican Senate seats.
The name of the book comes from a quote from Mr. Trump on election night, when he falsely declared victory before a large number of votes in key states were counted.he knows Those votes will benefit his opponent.
“Frankly, we did win this election,” he said. (He didn’t win.)
Despite baseless speculations about voter fraud in the months before the election, it turns out that Trump didn’t decide what to say until not long before he went out to face the camera.
According to reports, the president was “shocked that he did not win” the election at around 2 in the morning. When a dozen people yelled at him for advice, he stood in the middle of the White House residence with a “confused and frustrated expression”.
“This is a *** show. This is the saddest thing I have ever seen,” an official told Bender.
Mr. Trump ended up listening to only one person, Rudy Giuliani, and he will continue to lead His comical efforts to get the election results were overthrown in the court.
“Just say we won,” Mr. Giuliani said.
In the next few weeks, almost everyone around the president knew that the election was over and thought he would eventually accept defeat.
Once, Attorney General Bill Barr told Mr. Trump that his legal team led by Giuliani was a “clown show” and his fraud accusation was “bull ***”.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lamented that “the madman has taken over.”
But conspiracy theorists, including pillow salesman Mike Lindell and lawyer Sidney Powell, heard Trump’s voice and met with him in the Oval Office, plotting more and more about taking the voter machine and Announcing the plan of martial law.
Ms. Powell later argued that “no rational person” would believe her statement about the election and defend herself against a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit.
Mr. Lindel has not repented despite his defamation lawsuit. Still insisting that Mr. Trump will revert to president, Although he has given up his previous prediction that it will happen in mid-August.
Mr. Lindel, Ms. Powell, Mr. Giuliani-they are all colorful characters. The same is true for Mr. Trump himself. But when reading this book, I found that I, like the author, went back to the story of Sandra Kiczynski and Randall Tom, as well as others outside the temple of power who believed in Trump and Believe that he cares about their stories of ordinary Americans.
Then I read another chapter, describing in detail the president’s failure to take his work seriously.
One last anecdote. On the morning after the removal of Mick Mulvaney from the post of Chief of Staff, since more than half of the states in the United States have detected cases of the new crown virus, and the governors are implementing a state of emergency, Mr. Trump Sea Lake Manor. He is struggling with a trivial detail: what the Republican National Convention logo should look like.
It’s almost half a year since the conference.
“I really don’t like the shape of an elephant’s trunk. And it only has three stars. It should be a five-star hotel, just like a five-star hotel,” he told his assistant.
This is the time that the President of the United States spent in a snowball crisis once in a century. He wanted to know why he lost.
Sam is an American reporter for news.com.au | @SamClench