- Trump was furious after someone leaked that he hid in the White House bunker during George Floyd protests.
- He raged that the leaker should be “charged with treason” and “executed,” a new book says.
- He became “obsessed” with finding out who leaked that information, according to CNN, which obtained an excerpt.
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Then-President Donald Trump was furious after the media reported that he and his family hid in the White House bunker during the George Floyd protests last year and said whoever leaked that information should be executed, according to a new book by The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender.
In “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” Bender wrote that Trump seethed about the bunker story during a meeting with military, law enforcement officials, and West Wing advisors, according to CNN, which obtained an excerpt of the book.
The meeting happened in the days after he hid in the bunker, Bender wrote, and the president “boiled over about the bunker story as soon as they arrived and shouted at them to smoke out whoever had leaked it.”
“It was the most upset some aides had ever seen the president,” the book continued, according to CNN. “‘Whoever did that, they should be charged with treason!’ Trump yelled. ‘They should be executed!'”
Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, reportedly tried to calm the president down while other aides avoided making eye contact with him, the book said. In the following days, Trump became “obsessed” with discovering who leaked the story, and those who had witnessed his reaction saw it as the sign of “a president in panic,” according to the excerpt.
Trump later tried to downplay the bunker visit in an interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, saying he was there to inspect it, not to hide.
“I was there for a tiny, short little period of time,” Trump said. “They said it would be a good time to go down and take a look because maybe sometime you’re going to need it.”
The president added that he’d visited the bunker “two and a half times” before for various “things” related to inspections.
Trump’s reaction to the bunker visit leaking to the press was one of several times he said his perceived opponents should be executed.
In 2019, he refused to deny that senior FBI officials who investigated his campaign’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election should be put to death.
“Sir, the constitution says treason is punishable by death. You’ve accused your adversaries of treason. Who specifically are you accusing of treason?” NBC’s Peter Alexander asked Trump at a White House event in May 2019.
“Well, I think a number of people” in the bureau “have unsuccessfully tried to take down the wrong person,” Trump replied, before pointing the finger at former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
In September of that year, Trump said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff should be arrested for treason. At the time, Schiff was spearheading an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s efforts to strongarm the Ukrainian government into launching bogus investigations targeting the Bidens, while withholding military aid and a White House meeting.
“Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,” Trump tweeted on September 30. “It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”
A few days earlier, Trump had also suggested that the whistleblower who used legal avenues to alert Schiff’s committee to his Ukraine efforts was a “spy” and had committed treason.
“I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that’s close to a spy,” he said at a private breakfast in New York.
Trump added: “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”