Former president Donald Trump spent much of the year-plus leading up to the 2020 presidential election strategizing on how to beat the Democratic’s eventual nominee, who was announced as now-President Joe Biden in August 2020 at the Democratic National Convention. This pick was a surprise for few, with Biden leading among Democratic presidential candidates as early as April 2020. But a new Trump tell-all book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael C. Bender, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election”: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, reveals that at least a few people were strongly expecting Biden to ultimately drop out of the race, including former POTUS Trump himself. In fact, Trump was reportedly keen on an even more specific theory leading up to the 2020 election: that Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton would swoop in and replace Biden last-minute as the nominee.
Bender names former Clinton and Trump White House adviser Dick Morris as one of the first to share this theory with Trump: “Dick Morris told Trump that Biden was too old and too prone to gaffes to be the nominee,” he writes. “Others said Fox News anchor Sean Hannity expressed concern that Biden would collapse under a sustained attack from Trump.”
Per this theory, Trump wanted to hold off on attacking Biden outright in early months: “He worried that a heavy blitz of attack ads would hasten the secret plot being hatched by Democrats, and his mind raced with who they might select in Biden’s place,” Bender reports, describing a meeting in spring 2020 when Trump told his advisers that Democrats would “realize [Biden is] old, and they’re going to give [the nomination] to somebody else. They’re going to give it to Hillary, or they’re going to give it to Michelle Obama.”
For another example of the high regard in which Trump held Biden before the election, Bender describes the former POTUS having this outburst in the middle of “a policy meeting in the Oval Office,” asking: “‘How am I losing in the polls to a mental retard?’”
Trump has openly failed to grasp key concepts at the core of a free and fair election in the months since Americans cast their votes on November 3, and this book may well prove just how far back his lack of understanding goes.
SheKnow has reached out to a representative at the Trump Organization for further comment.
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