Trump seemingly concedes 2020 defeat in recent book dialogue before retracting statement

In a conversation from August 2021, ex-President Donald Trump gave the impression that he “lost” the 2020 contest to Joe Biden before swiftly reversing his stance, as per an excerpt from a forthcoming book capturing Trump’s reality TV tenure exclusively shared with Yahoo News.

“Apprentice in Wonderland: How Donald Trump and Mark Burnett Took America Through the Looking Glass,” penned by Variety‘s co-editor-in-chief Ramin Setoodeh, details a discussion Setoodeh had with Trump regarding Geraldo Rivera, who partook in The Celebrity Apprentice in 2015 as a contestant.

Enquired about his current relationship with Rivera, Trump diverged into a narrative about the year 2020.

“After I lost the election…,” Trump started, then instantaneously attempted to correct himself. “I won the election,” he asserted, “but then when they claimed we lost…”

Trump’s original utterance starkly opposes all his public claims since Biden’s presidential victory, secured by a margin of over 7 million votes on Nov. 3, 2020.

For an extended period, Trump has boisterously and erroneously maintained that the 2020 defeat was a result of electoral misconduct — assertions that have been thoroughly dispelled by analysts and defeated in multiple courts. These baseless claims have been harnessed by Trump to inspire his MAGA followers and to pursue the GOP’s presidential nomination once more.

“For all who feel maligned and deceived: I am your vindication,” the onetime commander-in-chief declared previously.

A Yahoo News/YouGov survey from January revealed a striking 70% of Trump advocates now truly think the election was “tampered with and stolen,” with merely 13% acknowledging Biden “won squarely.”

What Trump personally concedes — away from the limelight — has long been the focus of great fascination.

During the Congressional probes in 2022 regarding the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by Trump followers looking to invalidate the election outcome, several ex-aides gave sworn statements that their former leader privately owned up to his defeat.

“Can you fathom that I was bested by this effing guy?” Trump reportedly muttered as he observed Biden on television, in testimony by Alyssa Farah Griffith, an erstwhile White House aide.

Additionally, as Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows described, Trump supposedly informed Meadows, “I don’t want folks to know we were beaten, Mark. This is mortifying. Sort it out.”

Importantly, Trump’s 2023 federal indictment on scheming to reverse the outcome of a presidential vote is grounded partly on proof that Trump was aware his allegations were groundless yet he continued to promote them.

“The Accused was informed time and again that his allegations were baseless — often by those from whom he sought frank guidance on crucial affairs, who were in prime positions to understand the truths — and he consciously ignored the truth,” the legal charge states.

In defense, Trump has contended that his reliance on varying advisors implies he could not engage in a willful conspiracy as he sincerely believed the assertions he made.

“After summing everything up, the election was manipulated,” the former chief executive asserted to NBC in 2023. “Whom do I heed? My own counsel. I perceived what took place.”

However, the accidental slip noted in “Apprentice in Wonderland” — marking the premiere of Trump’s admission of “I lost the election” to the press — could assuredly weaken this legal strategy.

The Trump campaign has not furnished an immediate retort to inquiries for response.

Setoodeh depicts the words “escaping Trump’s lips, nearly despite his will,” and notes the former president then “scowled in astonishment.”

“It represents a moment of genuineness that startled Trump,” writes Setoodeh. “Even he is astounded by his own declaration.”

Subsequently, “the master of misdirection” within Trump “asserts command,” Setoodeh adds, “striving to nullify this embarrassing blunder of articulating reality — an error that might distance his supporters and damage his ego.”

“I captured the election, but then when they proclaimed we were defeated…,” Trump rephrased, seeming — per Setoodeh’s observation — “satisfied with his own hasty reversal.”

Trump proceeds to recount an exchange of missed phone calls with Rivera post-Election Day and to challenge Rivera’s portrayal of their talk in a Nov. 13, 2020 tweet:

“I uttered, ‘Such a profound disloyalty,’” Trump relayed to Setoodeh. “I wasn’t discussing emotions. It was a swift phone interaction. … Simply — ‘How are you, Geraldo? How’s everything?’ He isn’t my counsellor!”

“Apprentice in Wonderland” is scheduled for a June 18 release by HarperCollins. Drawn from six interviews with Trump held between May 2021 and November 2023 at Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago, the publication provides an insight into the exiled president reflecting on his “The Apprentice” days  — and divulging how his experiences in the realm of entertainment informed his political maneuvers.

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