In a new account of his time as Donald Trump’s fourth and final chief of staff, former Freedom Caucus Rep. Mark Meadows writes that the 74-year-old commander in chief would have beaten up protesters himself if Secret Service agents hadn’t made him hide in a bunker beneath the White House that the then-president later insisted he’d only been “inspecting.”
“A few hours later, the White House entered Code Red. Protestors had jumped the fence on the Treasury side of the compound, and they were running toward the Oval Office. I’m sure that if President Trump had the choice, he would have headed out to the lawns and knocked their heads in one by one,” Meadows writes of the May 29, 2020, incident in his memoir, The Chief’s Chief, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Beast ahead of its release next week.
“But he didn’t have a choice. When it comes to the United States Secret Service, no one does. Either you do what they say, or they pick you up and make you do it. So when the Secret Service asked President Trump to head downstairs to the White House bunker, he complied. He knew that he could go to the bunker with a few agents by his side, or he could go on their shoulders kicking and screaming. For everyone’s sake the first option was better.
“Almost immediately news of the president’s trip to the bunker found its way to Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, and they began spinning a story out of it. To this day, I do not know how this information got out, but I have my suspicions and it’s a short list… If I had to bet, I would say it was probably Stephanie Grisham, Emma Doyle, or someone from the VP’s team.”
Meadows, who is reportedly cooperating now with the House’s Jan. 6 special committee that has recommended contempt charges against two other Trump advisers, also writes in his book, as first reported by The Guardian, that Trump had failed a COVID test before his Sept. 29, 2020, debate with Joe Biden—a week before he ended up hospitalized with the virus and doctors feared they’d need to put him on a ventilator.
Meadows also describes Fox talker Sean Hannity as Trump’s “de facto ambassador” to the Freedom Caucus and details a conference call with himself Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and then House Speaker Paul Ryan in which “Hannity found himself talking with the newly sworn in president, more like a Capitol Hill legislative director than the news show host he was.”
Finally, Meadows describes how then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who “would bash the president in his daily press briefings and privately call to thank POTUS for everything he had done,” made “one strange request that would stick out”—asking before a trip to the White House if Hope Hicks could join his meeting with Trump.
“I don’t recall a single question he asked Hope that day,” writes Meadows, “but I do recall him arranging his chair in such a way that allowed him to creepily stare at her for most of the meeting.”