Why Mike Pence exploded at Trump — and 5 other stunning details from a new report on their finals days

Why Mike Pence exploded at Trump — and 5 other stunning details from a new report on their finals days
President Donald J. Trump listens as Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks during a press conference Friday, June 5, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

It's no secret that former President Donald Trump's last days in office were a political rollercoaster. Some of the chaos happened in plain sight, especially before he was kicked off Twitter. But despite his Twitter obsession, there were still things that occurred behind closed doors that are just coming to light.

A new report published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday sheds light on the unceasing chaos that ensued as the clock ticked down to 0 on Trump's presidency. The author Michael C. Bender offered a detailed depiction of what went on behind the scenes of the Trump administration.

  1. Most of those around Trump actually believed he would eventually concede and do the right thing: Vice President Mike Pence and Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel believed time would eventually give Trump the space he needed to process the devastating loss, Bender reported. Even his daughter Ivanka, who presumably knows her father better than others in his orbit, also thought he would come around and maybe invite Biden to the White House. That never happened, of course, and even now Trump insists he really won the election.
  2. Losing allies: During Trump's last days, his camaraderie with former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr also came to a screeching halt. At one point, he even offered the job to former National Intelligence Director, John Ratcliffe. Although it was Ratcliffe's dream job, he already knew the high consequences of taking the position at such a critical and controversial time during Trump's presidency.
  3. Bill Barr's breaking point: When Barr decided he'd had enough Trump's desperation to overturn the presidential election had escalated. In fact, it was so severe that the former president was "personally phoning U.S. attorneys—against Justice Department protocol—urging them to focus on election fraud."
  4. Even U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was concerned: Although Pompeo was a devout supporter of Trump, Bender notes that even he "conveyed concern to others that Mr. Trump might be more willing to engage in an international conflict to strengthen his political argument for remaining in office."
  5. Once upon a time, Vice President Mike Pence exploded: When Trump expressed disdain over Pence's committee hiring his advisor, Corey Lewandowski, as he claimed it was a sign of disloyalty, Pence reportedly had enough of Trump's antics and exploded. Bender wrote, "Mr. Pence lost it. Mr. Kushner had asked him to hire Mr. Lewandowski, and he had discussed the plan with Mr. Trump over lunch. Mr. Pence picked up the article and threw it back at Mr. Trump. He leaned toward the president and pointed a finger a few inches from his chest. "We walked you through every detail of this," Mr. Pence snarled. "We did this for you—as a favor. And this is how you respond? You need to get your facts straight."
  6. All bark and no bite? After facing the reality of losing the election, Trump asked numerous aides if he should run again. According to the report, some encouraged him but few actually believed he would go through with another presidential run. In fact, the publication also explained, "His advisers have pushed him to carefully cultivate his political power and delay deciding whether to run again in 2024 until after the midterms."
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