After media outlets reported in May 2020 that then-President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE was rushed to the White House underground bunker amid protests outside the building, Trump reportedly told some of his advisers that whoever leaked the information to the press “should be charged with treason” and “executed,” according to a new book.
The New York Times and other news outlets in May reported that Trump was held in the White House’s underground bunker, which was previously used during terrorist attacks, as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the building, shouting expletives at the president and hauling bricks and bottles following the police killing of George Floyd.
Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender writes in his new book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” that the president complained about the leak of information regarding the bunker during a meeting with top military, law enforcement and West Wing advisers.
“Trump 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,” Bender writes, according to an excerpt obtained by CNN.
The book says that Trump yelled, “Whoever did that, they should be charged with treason!” and “They should be executed!”
The book is set to be released on Tuesday.
Bender writes that then-White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE “repeatedly tried to calm the president as startled aides avoided eye contact.”
“I'm on it. We're going to find out who did it,” Meadows reportedly told Trump.
According to Bender, Trump “repeatedly asked Meadows if he’d found the leaker.”
Meadows reportedly became “obsessed” with tracking down the source.
Bender wrote that people who heard Trump’s warning “had interpreted the outburst as a sign of a president in panic.”
Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington rejected Bender’s reporting, calling it “completely false.”
“President Trump never said or suggested this to anyone, and this fact was given to the book's author during the fact-checking process for this book,” she added.
This story is completely false.— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) July 13, 2021
President Trump never said or suggested this to anyone, and this fact was given to the book's author during the fact-checking process for this book pic.twitter.com/HW3QK3Sz0i
CNN reported at the time of the incident that Trump was held in the bunker for slightly less than an hour.
Trump, after reports circulated regarding the bunker stay, said he visited the room for only a short amount of time to “for inspection.”