Donald Trump was whining until the bitter end.
The former president on his last day in office threatened to leave the GOP and start a new party in an effort to get back at the Republicans he felt abandoned him, according to Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, a new book from Jonathan Karl due out later this month.
He did so during a conversation with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who had called Trump to wish him well as he left the White House. The call took place shortly after Trump boarded Air Force One for his last flight on as president, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the incident. Trump was not happy.
“I’m done,” he reportedly told McDaniel. “I’m starting my own party.”
McDaniel responded by telling Trump that he couldn’t do that and that he if did the party would lose forever. “Exactly,” Trump said. “You lose forever without me. I don’t care.”
“This is what Republicans deserve for not sticking up for me,” Trump added.
Trump World often complained about the RNC as his presidency was winding down, and the president has continued to do so since he left office. He wrote in March that the committee was comprised of “fools” who “do not have the GOP’s best interests in mind” while griping about the RNC using his image to raise money. “No more money for RINOS,” Trump wrote. “They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and our great voting base — they will never lead us to Greatness.”
RINOs is short for Republicans In Name Only — or, as Trump would have it, Republicans who have not pledged their souls to Trump.
Karl writes in his book that Trump’s threat to leave the party on Jan. 20 was not an idle one, and that he was letting McDaniel know that he had already made a decision to jump ship. He hadn’t really thought the decision through, though. In the ensuing days, RNC leadership, including McDaniel, informed the newly former president of the consequences of going solo, including that the party would immediately stop paying his legal bills for election challenges. He would also be deprived of the party’s mailing list, which brought in so much money that it was estimated to be worth $100 million, Karl writes.
Days later, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to the party.
McDaniel and Trump have both denied Karl’s reporting.
“This is false, I have never threatened President Trump with anything,” McDaniel told ABC News. “He and I have a great relationship. We have worked tirelessly together to elect Republicans up and down the ballot, and will continue to do so.”
“ABC Non News and 3rd rate reporter Jonathan Karl have been writing fake news about me from the beginning of my political career,” said in a statement to ABC News. “Just look at what has now been revealed about the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax. It was a made up and totally fabricated scam and the lamestream media knew it. It just never ends!”