An excerpt from the book Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender obtained by Fox News reveals new details about how Mr Trump mocked his Democratic rivals during the 2020 primaries.
Mr Trump reportedly commented on one of the Democratic debates to reporters on Air Force One in February 2020.
“Trump then started offering his own colour commentary: Bloomberg was smart, but not quick,” Mr Bender writes. Mr Trump asked reporters to watch the debate with him as they flew from Phoenix to Las Vegas. “Biden had an awful facelift. Bernie was sharp, and Warren was nasty but a good debater.”
Mr Bender added: “But the climax for Trump was Bloomberg melting down when rivals, led by Warren, skewered him over his history of sexual harassment allegations and past support for stop-and-frisk policing. Trump crowed at every stammer he saw on-screen. ‘He stutters like Biden!’ Trump said.”
The Wall Street Journal reporter wrote that staffers for the Trump campaign were split on whether Mr Bloomberg was a threat, with some dismissing him and others insisting the billionaire and former New York mayor couldn’t be ignored.
“Trump was anxious about Bloomberg, too, and had to be constantly reassured,” Mr Bender wrote. ‘What do you think of Bloomberg?’ Mr Trump would ask visitors to the Oval Office. Who are you most worried about?’”
When Mr Trump asked an aide which Democratic candidate would be the most challenging to face, the aide mentioned former South Bend, Indiana mayor and current Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
“Buttigieg? That f***ing guy? Nah,” Mr Trump reportedly replied.
Mr Bender wrote that in February 2020, Mr Trump felt good about his position in the race for his reelection.
“The president was feeling emboldened. His approval ratings were at the highest point of his presidency, he’d removed or reassigned many of the administration officials who had testified against him during impeachment, and now Democrats were falling apart.”
After watching the debate on Air Force One, Mr Trump allegedly told reporters: “I’m the president, and I’m going to stay the president. And you’re finally starting to realize that!”
Mr Trump previously blasted Mr Bender as a “third-rate reporter” and said his description of events in one part of his book was “totally false”. The former president added that an earlier excerpt from the book was “fiction, as are so many other stories written in the vast number of books coming out about me”.
Mr Bender tweeted in response: “I stand by my reporting.”
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