Trump said anyone who ‘leaked’ information about their stay in the White House bunker should be ‘executed’, new book says
Then-President Donald Trump told a number of his advisers in 2020 that anyone who leaked information about his stay in the White House bunker in May this year had committed treason and should be executed. for sharing details of the episode with members of the press, according to excerpts from a new book, obtained by CNN, from Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.
Trump, along with then-first lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron, were all taken to the underground bunker for a time during protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd as protesters gathered outside the building. Bender writes in the book titled “Frankly, We Won This Election: The Inside Story of Trump’s Loss, that Trump, in the days following his stay in the bunker, held a tense meeting with top military, law enforcement and West Wing advisers, during which he voiced his grievances about the escape.
“Trump spilled over into the history of the bunker as soon as they arrived and yelled at them to smoke whoever leaked it. It was the most upset some aides had ever seen the president,” Bender writes.
“Whoever did this, he should be charged with treason!” Trump shouted. ‘They should be executed!’ ”, We read in the book.
Mark Meadows, then White House chief of staff, “repeatedly tried to calm the president down as surprised assistants avoided eye contact,” Bender wrote, adding that Trump’s senior aide told his boss: ” I’m on the spot, we’ll find out who did it.
Trump, angry with the leak for days, “repeatedly asked Meadows if he found the leak,” with his main collaborator becoming “obsessed” with finding the source, according to the book, which noted that ” those who said they heard the president say the warning interpreted the explosion as a sign of a panicked president.
Liz Harrington, chief spokesperson for Trump, on Tuesday rejected Bender’s account of the book to CNN, saying in a statement that the former president “never told or suggested it to anyone.”
CNN reported at the time that Trump was taken to the bunker and stayed there for just under an hour before being taken upstairs. A source familiar with the matter had also told CNN that “if the condition at the White House is raised to RED and the president is moved” to the emergency operations center “Melania Trump, Barron Trump and any other first member of the the family would be moved as well. ”
At the time, the White House also warned staff members who had to report to work on Monday after the bunker was used to hide their passes until they reached a point of secret service entrance and to hide them when leaving, according to an email that was seen by CNN.
Trump had attempted to publicly downplay the trip in the days that followed, seeking at the time in a radio interview to explain his presence in the bunker as an “inspection” – rather than a retreat for his own safety.
CORRECTION: This story was updated to correct when President Trump was taken to the White House bunker.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Noah Gray contributed to this report