Say this for Donald Trump: He is not subtle.
That lack of finesse was on display during Thursday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing, when evidence was presented — over and over again — that suggested Trump had long planned to simply declare victory, regardless of what the results on Election Day 2020 actually were.
“It was a premeditated plan by the president to declare victory regardless of what the actual outcome was,” committee member Zoe Lofgren said during Thursday’s hearing. “We also interviewed Brad Parscale, President Trump’s former campaign manager. He told us he understood that as early as July, President Trump was planning to say he won the election even though he lost.”
Which, looking back at what Trump said and did in the summer and fall of 2020, shouldn’t surprise anyone. He did not keep the plan he eventually carried out – insisting the election was stolen – a big secret.
* In a July 2020 interview with Fox News, Trump was asked directly whether he would accept the election results, whether he won or not. “No one. I must see,” he replied. “Look you—I must see. No, I won’t just say ‘yes’. I’m not going to say ‘no’. And I didn’t do that last time either.”
* At a campaign rally in August 2020, Trump said this: “So this is just a way that they’re trying to steal the election, and everybody knows it. Because the only way they’re going to win is by a rigged election,” said he.
* At a rally in mid-September of that year, Trump said this: “The Democrats are trying to rig this election because that’s the only way they’re going to win,” he said.
* At a press conference later that month, Trump was asked directly if he would ensure a peaceful transition of power if he lost. “Well, we’ll have to see what happens,” he said. “You know. I’ve complained very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster. … We’re going to have—get rid of the ballots and you’re going to have a very … there’s not going to be a transfer, frankly. There’s going to be a sequel . The ballots are out of control. You know it.”
* Around the same time, Trump said this: “But time-wise, we’re going to January 20th. But I think it’s better if you go before the election, because I think that this — this scam that the Democrats are pulling — that is a scam — this scam will be before the U.S. Supreme Court. And I think it’s not a good situation to have a 4-4 situation if you get that.”
It’s okay there! The whole plan:
1) Declare victory no matter what.
2) Insist that fraud was committed no matter what.
3) Force the case into the courts no matter what.
Which is exactly what happened—except the Supreme Court didn’t side with Trump and refused to even hear a challenge to the results. “Just fyi. POTUS is mad – breaking news – Supreme Court rejected his lawsuit. He’s mad now,” said a Secret Service memo presented by Rep. Adam Kinzinger during Thursday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing.
Digging back through old quotes of Trump talking about the 2020 election, I came across a piece I wrote in May 2019 titled, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” That piece contains these lines:
“It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that Trump, if he comes up short in the 2020 election, wouldn’t be willing to simply go quietly into the good night. For Trump, refusing to admit defeat would and willingly relinquish power to be the last sacred cow he could slaughter.He has built a political career on a willingness to break with longstanding traditions, the time-honored elements of our capital-D democracy that have long separated us from the rest of world. Trump mocks all that sort of thing, the suits, he will argue, of a mysterious system put in place by elites who cannot channel the will of the people as he can.”
It was right there staring us in the face. We might not have thought Trump would take it this far, but he literally told us not only that he would, but how he would do it. We should have believed him the first time.