Trump Didn’t Want to Discuss COVID With Former Presidents, Book Says


  • Trump wanted a “course correction” after bad reviews of his Oval Office address on COVID, Kellyanne Conway wrote in her new book.
  • Conway suggested engaging with the four living former presidents.
  • “‘Ugh,’ he said. ‘They’re all horrible to me,'” Conway wrote.

In March 2020, then-President Donald Trump wanted a “course correction” after “mostly critical” reviews of his Oval Office address on COVID-19, his former senior counselor Kellyanne Conway wrote in her new book.

She suggested engaging with the four living former presidents.

“‘They each have dealt with major crises,'” she recalled telling Trump in “Here’s the Deal: A Memoir,” out Tuesday. “‘It will show leadership, bipartisanship, and calm everyone.'”

Trump, however, wasn’t interested.

“‘Ugh,’ he said. ‘They’re all horrible to me,'” Conway wrote of his response.

Conway pressed on, saying “they haven’t been great,” but added “this is bigger than all that.”

She also thought the move could help him get reelected.

Trump listened to her pitch, she wrote, on how Jimmy Carter could offer advice and George W. Bush would engage. She reminded him of how he and his wife Melania “genuinely got along” with Bush and his wife Laura during Bush’s father’s funeral.

“‘Barack Obama would not decline. He dealt with Ebola and swine flu, and this is serious, too. More serious, it seems,'” she wrote, describing her advice to Trump.

She also told Trump, “‘Bush and Obama would help and then go back to their lives. The only one who may be tough to get rid of is Bill Clinton. He’ll enjoy the spotlight again, loves this stuff, and’—I smiled—’may want to be your best buddy.'”

Trump later told reporters he didn’t want to “bother” the former presidents.

“I don’t think I’m going to learn much and, you know, I guess you could say that there’s probably a natural inclination not to call,” he said during a White House coronavirus task force briefing.

In April 2020, however, he spoke with his campaign rival Joe Biden about ideas for tackling COVID.

“It was a cordial conversation, which I witnessed, and Biden was especially engaged,” Conway wrote. “So much so that, after the call, President Trump looked at me and to my surprise declared: ‘Everyone is wrong. He hasn’t lost it.'”



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