Trump talked about executing people while in the White House, ex-aide reveals

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 16 June 2024 20:05 BST
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Donald Trump often proposed executing rivals, former attorney general Bill Barr claims

Donald Trump talked openly about executing people while he was president, a former White House aide has claimed.

Alyssa Farah Griffin, director of strategic communications at the White House from April-December 2020, made the claim on Mediaite’s Press Club podcast on June 14.

According to the former aide, Trump had called for the execution of a staffer who leaked a story, among others. Griffin said that Trump made the comments about the staffer during an Oval Office where she and former Attorney General Bill Barr were present.

Griffin said: “[CNN host] Kaitlan Collins, to her credit, interviewed Bill Barr and asked about an anecdote that I had shared about a meeting he and I were both in the Oval Office where Trump straight up said a staffer who leaked a story should be executed.

“And Bill Barr kind of danced [around] it and said ‘I don’t recall that specific instance,’ but there were others where we talked about executing people. How do you rationalize that is a person fit in sound judgment to be president of the United States?”

Bill Barr says Trump would 'threaten execution' when he was angry

The Independent has contacted Trump’s campaign for comment.

Griffin has frequently voiced her opposition to a second Trump term since leaving the White House as her boss was in the full throes of attempting to overturn the 2020 election results. In the aftermath of the January 6 attack, she would call on him to resign.

Trump has used increasingly dehumanising language about his political opponents. At a rally in Ohio ahead of the state’s Senate primary in March, he told his supporters that Democrats were “not people” in some cases.

“In some cases, they’re not people,” he told a cheering crowd in Dayton.

In April, Barr told CNN that he didn’t recall Trump demanding a political opponent’s execution but admitted that such statements were not out of character for the ex-president.

“I actually don’t remember him saying ‘executing’ but I wouldn’t dispute it, you know,” said Barr. “The president would lose his temper and say things like that. I doubt he would’ve actually carried it out.

Alyssa Farah Griffin, former White House director of strategic communications, joins Mediaite’s Press Club podcast on June 14, 2024
Alyssa Farah Griffin, former White House director of strategic communications, joins Mediaite’s Press Club podcast on June 14, 2024 (YouTube: Mediaite)

“I don’t think the threat is there. The thing that I worry about president Trump is not that he’s going to become an autocrat and do those kinds of things. Having worked for him and seen him in action, I don’t think he would actually go and kill political rivals and things like that.”

The ex-president has used increasingly dehumanising language about his political opponents in recent years, in particular since launching his 2024 campaign for the president. At a rally in Ohio ahead of the state’s Senate primary in March, he told his supporters that Democrats were “not people” in some cases.

“In some cases, they’re not people,” he told a cheering crowd in Dayton.

Griffin previously served as press secretary for the Department of Defense under Trump and in former vice president Mike Pence’s office from 2017-2019.

Since leaving the White House, she has joined CNN as a political contributor and become a co-host on The View. She also testified before the bipartisan House committee which investigated the January 6 attack.

Earlier this year, she claimed in an interview that Trump’s mental capacities are slipping, an allegation that Republicans frequently level at Joe Biden.

"I have said this before, he is not as sharp as he was in 2016 and not even as sharp as he was in 2020,” she said. “For some reason, that doesn’t necessarily come across to voters”.

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