According to a new book about to hit the shelves, it was Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, who on Election Night initiated the false claim that Trump had won Michigan, long before all the votes were counted.
Giuliani’s link to the Big Lie is described by Washington Post reporters Carol Lennig and Philip Rucker in their upcoming book, “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.” The book is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with more than 140 people, including the most senior Trump administration officials, friends and outside advisers to the 45th president.
Several book excerpts and news reports in recent days have revealed some shocking details about Trump’s behavior following the November vote. The portrayals of the president and his staff suggest that Giuliani was a drunken, gassy, windbag who engaged in hype and ham-handedness.
The scene set by Leonnig and Rucker on Election Night at the White House includes a conversation between Giuliani, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, campaign manager Bill Stepien and aide Jason Miller.
Here is part of the excerpt published by the post on Thursday:
After a while, Rudy Giuliani started to cause a commotion. He was telling other guests that he had come up with a strategy for Trump and was trying to get into the president’s private quarters to tell him about it. Some people thought Giuliani may have been drinking too much and suggested to Stepien that he go talk to the former New York mayor. Stepien, Meadows and Jason Miller took Giuliani down to a room just off the Map Room to hear him out.
Giuliani went state by state asking Stepien, Meadows and Miller what they were seeing and what their plan was.
“What’s happening in Michigan?” he asked.
They said it was too early to tell, votes were still being counted and they couldn’t say.
“Just say we won,” Giuliani told them.
Same thing in Pennsylvania. “Just say we won Pennsylvania,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani’s grand plan was to just say Trump won, state after state, based on nothing. Stepien, Miller and Meadows thought his argument was both incoherent and irresponsible.
“We can’t do that,” Meadows said, raising his voice. “We can’t.”
Around 2 a.m. Trump appeared before his supporters and the media to deliver a haphazard speech, one that followed Giuliani’s plan:
Leonnig and Rucker pick up the story:
Trump rattled off states he had won — Florida! Ohio! Texas! — and then claimed that he had already won states that were too close to call, including Georgia and North Carolina. He bragged about his leads in some states — “Think of this: We’re up 690,000 votes in Pennsylvania. Six hundred ninety thousand!” — and falsely claimed to be winning Michigan and Wisconsin.
Neither Trump nor Biden was declared the overall winner because Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania remained too close to call. Yet Trump insisted that he was the actual winner, and that his sweet victory had been somehow snatched from him.
“This is a fraud on the American public,” the president said. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win this election.