- Trump flew into a rage after Fox News called Arizona for Biden on Election Night 2020, a new book says.
- “What the f—? How can they call this?” Trump said, according to the book.
- He directed his fury at the Murdochs and seethed that they were “always” out to get him.
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Then President Donald Trump flew into a rage when Fox News called the state of Arizona for Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Election Night 2020, according to “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency” by Michael Wolff.
It was a shocking call that marked the beginning of the end of Trump’s reelection campaign, and the president’s aides quickly shifted to damage control mode in order to contain his fury.
“What the f—? How can they call this?” Trump said, according to the book, an early copy of which was obtained by Insider. “We’re winning. And everybody can see we are going to win. Everybody’s calling to say that we’re winning. And then they pull this?”
Matt Oczkowski, the Trump campaign’s data guru and the former head of product at the controversial firm Cambridge Analytica, tried consoling Trump and assuring him that according to his model, the president would end up carrying Arizona.
“When the votes come in, we’ll win,” Oczkowski said. “Absolutely, we’re going to win.”
Meanwhile Trump’s son, Eric, was searching for his own answers, asking campaign staffers, “Where are these votes in Arizona coming from? How is this happening? You said we were good,” the book said.
But the brunt of Trump’s rage was directed toward Fox News itself. The head of the company, Rupert Murdoch, had greenlit the network’s election desk to call Arizona for Biden just minutes earlier.
Shortly after 11 p.m. ET, Murdoch’s son Lachlan got a call from Fox News’ data operation saying they were ready to make the Arizona call. Lachlan relayed the information to his father and asked if the network should go ahead and announce it.
“His father, with signature grunt, assented, adding, ‘F— him,'” Wolff wrote.
Trump, reacting to Biden’s victory a little while later, fumed that the Murdochs were “always trying to f— him,” according to the book. “He was the golden goose at Fox, and what did that get him? They owed him, but they had screwed him.”
In the weeks and months after Biden’s victory, Trump and his loyalists mounted a ferocious – and entirely unfounded – public messaging campaign aimed at convincing his supporters that the election had been “rigged” and stolen from him.
His legal team, spearheaded by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, filed lawsuits in battleground states across the country seeking to nullify Biden’s victory in those states and throw the White House back to Trump.
All the lawsuits were tossed out, and nonpartisan election experts and cybersecurity officials determined that contrary to Trump and Giuliani’s claims, the 2020 election was the safest and most secure in US history.
Giuliani, for his part, recently had his law license suspended in New York and Washington, DC, after an appellate division of New York’s Supreme Court found “uncontroverted evidence” that he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large” about the election.
Wolff’s previous reporting about the Trump White House drew scrutiny after journalists and fact-checkers found that some of the details in his first book about the administration didn’t add up.
He defended the book, however, and said he stood by his reporting. He also said “Landslide” featured only episodes that Trump’s staff had confirmed or that were backed up by multiple sources.