Trump called Biden a ‘mental r—–‘ while struggling in the polls in early 2020, according to a new book

donald trump
In this Nov. 26, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump speaks with reporters after participating in a video teleconference call with members of the military on Thanksgiving, at the White House in Washington. Trump has delivered a 46-minute diatribe against the election results that produced a win for Democrat Joe Biden, unspooling one misstatement after another to back his baseless claim that he really won.

  • Trump vented about his position in the 2020 polls early last year, according to a new book.
  • Trump interrupted a policy meeting at the White House and called Biden a “mental r—–.”
  • At the time Trump had been lagging behind Biden in the polls.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump interrupted a policy meeting in the Oval Office in early 2020 to vent about his position in the polls and attack then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden, according to a new book.

“How am I losing in the polls to a mental r—–?” Trump said at the time, per an excerpt of a forthcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender published on Monday in Vanity Fair.

The book, titled “Frankly, We Did Win This Election”: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” provides a deeper look into Trump’s election loss last year leading up to the Capitol insurrection on January 6. Bender reported extensively on the subject and met with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort at least twice for the book, which will hit stores in August.

At the time of trump’s reported slur, Biden consistently outpaced Trump in national polls, according to averages compiled by FiveThirtyEight and Real Clear Politics.

Throughout the campaign, Trump and his Republican allies repeatedly attacked Biden’s mental acuity and tried to paint him as mentally unfit to become president. The Trump campaign ran ads attempting to undermine Biden’s cognitive abilities, showing clips of him stuttering during speeches. On the campaign trail, Biden opened up about his struggles of growing up with a stutter.

By August, Trump had challenged his Democratic opponent to take a cognitive test, which Biden firmly rejected. “Why the hell would I take a test?” he told a reporter at the time, scoffing.

According to polling by Insider in February, most Americans think Biden, now 78, is mentally fit for the job.

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Investors are worried Bill Ackman’s SPAC is struggling to find an acquisition target

FILE PHOTO: Bill Ackman, chief executive officer and portfolio manager at Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks during the SALT conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. May 18, 2017.  REUTERS/Richard Brian
Bill Ackman, chief executive officer and portfolio manager at Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks during the SALT conference in Las Vegas

  • Investors are getting anxious about billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman finding a target for his SPAC to take public, Institutional Investor reported.
  • Ackman says a deal has been in the works since November, and that the SPAC team has done its homework.
  • Even so, if he can’t get the transaction done, Ackman said his SPAC will move on to another target.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Investors are starting to worry Bill Ackman’s blank-check company is struggling to find an acquisition target, Institutional Investor reported this week.

The billionaire hedge fund manager told investors on a Wednesday call that he will make an announcement whether his Pershing Square Tontine Holdings SPAC gets a deal done with the current target or has to move on.

The uncertaintly is making retail investors anxious. The story from Institutional Investor found sentiment was low on a “PTSH support group” page comprised of retail traders. One told the magazine that it “seems like the deal won’t happen” as Ackman keeps mentioning the idea of a backup target.

His SPAC – which launched with the goal of spending $5 billion to take a private business public – started working on a transaction in early November.

“We’ve done our homework, we like the business, we love the management team, and we are working to complete a transaction, as I said within weeks,” he said on the call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.

“If we cannot get this transaction done, we will move on to target number two, and there are other interesting opportunities for us to pursue,” he added.

Following Ackman’s comments, shares of Tontine, which went public in July 2020 under the ticker PTSH, declined, closing out the day 1.2% lower.

According to a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange commission, Tontine said it’s “currently in negotiations with a specific business target and while substantial progress has been made, significant issues remain to be addressed before a transaction can be announced and consummated, if at all.”

Several institutional investors have sold all or some of their positions in the SPAC, though its early backers are still in place. Hedge Fund Soroban Capital sold its stake of 5 million shares, Taconic Capital sold half of its 1.1 million shares, and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan sold 4.3 million shares, though that was only part of its investment, Institutional Investor reported.

But early backers Guggenheim Capital and Baupost Group still hold tens of millions of shares in Ackman’s SPAC.

On The Wall Street Journal’s “The Future of Everything Festival,” Ackman said he and his team found an “iconic, phenomenal, great business with a great management team that meets all of our criteria.” But, the nature of the target, the complexity of the deal, and other issues have caused delays, he said, adding that the company is so attractive it will be “worth the energy and the effort.”

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The Wall Street Journal ridicules Trump in public feud after the paper questioned his usefulness to the Republican Party

trump wall street journal
President Donald Trump holds up The Wall Street Journal as he speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 19, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  •  The Wall Street Journal and Trump are feuding after the paper ridiculed him for his election loss.
  • The paper published an article that questioned Trump’s usefulness to the Republican Party.
  • Trump responded by saying the paper, backed by Rupert Murdoch, has “lost great credibility.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Donald Trump and the Rupert Murdoch-backed Wall Street Journal are going head to head after the newspaper ridiculed the former president for being in denial about his election loss.

The paper, which has a largely right-leaning editorial board, published an opinion piece earlier this week questioning Trump’s usefulness to the Republican Party after losing the White House and the Republican control of  Congress. 

In a scathing response released on Thursday, Trump accused the paper of supporting “globalist policies such as bad trade deals, open borders, and endless wars that favor other countries and sell out our great American workers,” according to The Hill.

“They fight for RINOS that have so badly hurt the Republican Party,” Trump added. “That’s where they are and that’s where they will always be. Fortunately, nobody cares much about The Wall Street Journal editorial anymore. They have lost great credibility.”

The editorial board fired back shortly after, writing in another article that read: “For someone who says we don’t matter, he sure spends a lot of time reading and responding to us. Thanks for the attention.” 

“What really seems to rankle the most famous resident of Mar-a-Lago isn’t his caricature of our policy differences,” the board continued. “It’s that we recognize the reality that Mr. Trump is the main reason Republicans lost two Georgia Senate races in January and thus the Senate majority. Mr. Trump refuses to take responsibility for those defeats, contrary to all evidence.”

The paper noted that Trump lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden by 7 million votes and failed to win crucial Republican states.

“Losing to Joe Biden of all people, and by 7.1 million votes as an incumbent President, must be painful. Counseling could be in order. Any good analyst will explain that the first step toward recovery is to accept reality. The same applies to Republican voters who want to win back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024,” the board added.

The former president has not yet responded to the Journal’s latest rebuke.

Trump is still banned from Twitter and Facebook, so he has resorted to sending out written statements from his Mar-a-Lago residence. 

This included another statement released on Friday, aimed at President Joe Biden and his immigration policies, which Trump described as being “totally out of control,” according to The Independent.

Trump made his first public appearance since leaving the White House at The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, where he hinted at another possible run in 2024.

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Advertisers prepare for Apple’s changes

Good morning and welcome to Insider Advertising for March 5. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

First, our reporter Ashley Rodriguez is hosting an hour-long chat with execs from Molson Coors, Roku, and UTA Marketing about the future of advertising-supported TV on March 10. Register for the event here.

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at or on Twitter at @LaurenJohnson.

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‘It’s our Y2K’: Advertisers are freaking out that Apple’s privacy changes will make it harder to tell if their ads are working

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The Wall Street Journal is revamping its digital strategy to get more traffic – and it’s creating tension among some reporters

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Top 18 boutique PR firms that are winning big clients like Lancôme, Walmart, and T-Mobile

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More stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you on Monday! You can reach me in the meantime at and subscribe to this daily email here.

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Exxon and Chevron discussed merging to form second-largest oil company: report

Exxon Baton Rouge refinery
An Exxon refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Exxon and Chevron discussed merging the oil companies last year, a move that would have likely created the second-largest oil company in the world, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The talks between Chevron CEO Mike Wirth and Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods took place in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, which battered the oil sector, the Journal reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. The talks were preliminary and are not ongoing, though the two CEOs might resume discussions, the Journal said.

If the merger were to occur, it would likely make the ensuing firm the second-largest oil company in the world by market capitalization and production, the Journal said. Saudi Aramco is the world’s largest oil company.

A Chevron spokesperson did not comment on the Journal’s report, telling Insider “we do not comment on market rumors or speculation.” Exxon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

The oil industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with reduced travel drastically cutting demand for jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline. Oil prices have rebounded this year after a brutal spring 2020 in which US crude fell into negative territory for the first time. 

Read more: How Exxon Mobil went from being the world’s most valuable company to getting booted from the Dow and laying off thousands in less than a decade

Exxon, the largest US oil producer, has faced pressure from a number of events, including its ousting from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in August and a reported SEC investigation into allegations the company overvalued a key oil and gas property in Texas’ Permian Basin. It also posted losses in the first three quarters of 2020; fourth quarter results will be revealed on Tuesday. 

Chevron has also been hammered by the decline in demand for crude oil. Late last year, the second-largest US oil producer took steps to reduce costs and streamline operations. It also asked employees worldwide to reapply for positions, Reuters reported. Last week the company reported a fourth quarter loss. 

Exxon and Chevron have market capitalizations of $190 billion and $164 billion, respectively. 

Last week, S&P Global Ratings put several big oil companies, including Chevron and Exxon, on notice that it could soon downgrade their credit ratings due to heightened concerns about climate change and a global push towards greener energy.

The agency – one of the three most influential ratings firms in the world – said it could ultimately downgrade the ratings of Chevron, Exxon, Shell and Total among others.

The Journal noted that the proposed merger between Chevron and ExxonMobil would bring back together two of the companies borne after John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly was broken up in 1911.

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Trump wanted the Justice Department to sue individual states to overturn their election results, but top officials refused, WSJ report says

trump pentagon
President Donald Trump.

  • Trump wanted the Justice Department to sue states directly in the Supreme Court to overturn the election results.
  • DOJ officials refused, prompting Trump to plot to replace the acting attorney general with a loyalist.
  • That effort was foiled by DOJ leaders when some threatened to resign if Jeffrey Rosen was removed.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump wanted the Department of Justice to file lawsuits in the Supreme Court against specific states in an attempt to overturn their election results, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

DOJ officials refused, prompting Trump to plot to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with a loyalist. The plot was blocked when a group of top DOJ leaders threatened to resign if acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen was removed.

Trump’s idea to sue states was pushed by his personal lawyers, The Journal reported.

“He wanted us, the United States, to sue one or more of the states directly in the Supreme Court,” a former administration official told The Journal.

DOJ officials refused to file the case, determining that there was no legal grounds and that “the federal government had no legal interest in whether Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden won the presidency,” according to The Journal.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read more: Trump didn’t pardon himself. Here’s the massive tsunami of legal peril that now awaits him.

Trump and his allies pursued dozens of legal challenges in the wake of the election in an attempt to overturn the results based on unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud. The Trump campaign and Republican officials filed lawsuits across battleground states, but virtually none of the challenges held up in court.

Trump’s own Justice Department, and ally Attorney General Bill Barr, said in December it had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would’ve affected the election outcome.

The Journal said the effort to sue states directly was ramped up after the Supreme Court on December 11 dismissed a lawsuit filed by Texas’ attorney general Ken Paxton in an attempt to overturn the results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

On the night of the election during a speech where he falsely claimed victory, Trump threatened to go to the Supreme Court over the election, though it was unclear why or on what legal basis he planned to do so.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September and Trump and Republicans were determined to fill her seat, Trump also suggested the election would be decided in the Supreme Court, though again it was unclear what exactly he thought would constitute litigation.

Trump successfully nominated and appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, making her the third Trump-appointee on the bench alongside Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, solidifying the court’s conservative majority with a 6-3 split.

After the Texas case was dismissed, Trump blasted the Supreme Court in a tweet, saying “no wisdom, no courage!”

Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal

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