“Mark Meadows’ new book, The Chief’s Chief, rightfully spends much time talking about the large-scale Election Fraud that took place in the 2020 Presidential Election,” Trump said in a statement on Saturday posted by spokesperson Liz Harrington.
But Trump was singing a completely different tune on Wednesday when The Guardian published an excerpt of the book, which comes out Dec. 7. According to the paper, Meadows wrote that Trump tested positive for coronavirus three days before a presidential debate with Joe Biden but proceeded with the debate anyway. According to Meadows, Trump tested negative after the positive test, but that was with a rapid antigen test, which is not as reliable as the more accurate PCR test that the CDC recommends after a positive result. In the book, Meadows even described Trump as symptomatic ahead of the debate, with “dark circles under his eyes” and “moving more slowly than usual… like he was carrying a little extra weight on his back.” Earlier, Meadows said, Trump had sounded like he had “gravel in his voice.” A week after the first positive result, Trump was hospitalized with severe Covid symptoms following another positive test.
“The story of me having COVID before, or during, the first debate is Fake News,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday. “In fact, a test revealed that I did not have Covid before the debate.”
In the days following the revelation, Trump reportedly spent “an inordinate amount” of time “privately railing against Meadows” and was “aggressively scolding” the former chief of staff behind his back, according to The Daily Beast, which spoke with two sources with knowledge of the matter.
Trump’s anger seemed to rattle Meadows, who tried to walk his claims back by calling them “fake news” himself. Appearing on Newsmax Wednesday, Meadows said, “Well, the president’s right, it’s fake news… The way the media wants to spin it is to be as negative about Donald Trump as they possibly can while giving Joe Biden a pass.” Apparently that was enough to get Meadows back in Trump’s good graces, at least enough to get him to start plugging the book again.