In his newly released book about his time serving in the Trump administration, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows wrote that he was so infuriated when Fox News first called Joe Biden’s electoral win in Arizona on election night that he proceeded to angrily dial an editor at the network to contest Trump’s projected loss, according to Insider.
Insider reported that Meadows in his book recalled that before Fox News had called Biden’s victory in the battleground state, he received a call from GOP political consultant Karl Rove, who congratulated him for his success that night even though major networks had not declared that Trump won. Meadows reportedly said that Trump was confident that networks would officially declare his victory.
But the mood in the White House soured as soon as Fox News called Arizona for Biden, Meadows wrote, projecting a win in a state that had not backed a Democratic presidential nominee since Bill Clinton in 1996.
“I walked back down to the Map Room, where our analysts were reporting good news from social media. The Twitter traffic was all trending in the right direction,” Meadows wrote when describing the scene at around 10:30 p.m. ET that night, according to Insider.
“Then, out of nowhere, I heard a loud series of screams and expletives from the next room. Fox News had called Arizona for Joe Biden,” Meadows continued.
Meadows then griped that he thought Fox News’ decision to call Arizona first out of all the major news organizations was premature.
“Not only was this infuriating, but it was also mathematically impossible to determine at this early hour. With the information that Fox News had at the time, they could not possibly have been able to legitimately make the call that they did,” Meadows wrote, according to Insider.
After noting that he previously had a testy phone call with then-Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon over what he believed to be “uneven election coverage,” Meadows baselessly alleged that there was a “liberal contingent” within the network that was out to “sabotage” Trump “in the name of objectivity” — which the then-Trump official argued had been “realized” when it called Biden’s Arizona victory.
“I dialed Bill Sammon once again, tapping the numbers with such force that I’m surprised I didn’t crack the screen of my iPhone,” Meadows wrote, according to Insider.
Meadows reportedly told Sammon that “there is no information that you could have at this time that would make this call possible.” But even after Sammon told Meadows that the network’s election modeling projected Trump’s loss in Arizona, Meadows continued throwing a fit over it.
“It may well be that President Trump loses Arizona,” Meadows wrote in recalling how he replied to Sammon, according to Insider. “But if he does, it’s going to be by fewer than ten thousand votes, and there is no way you could know that right now.”
Meadows claimed that Sammon dismissed his complaints, writing that Sammon reportedly told him that it’s not the network’s job to appease White House figures.
The release of Meadows’ book last week came after members of the Jan. 6 committee argued that his book could potentially poke holes in his executive privilege argument for withholding his contacts with the former president on Jan. 6.
In the past week, Meadows has gone back to stonewalling the committee after he only began engaging with the panel late last month after months of back-and-forth over whether he would voluntarily produce material. Meadows’ lawyer, George J. Terwilliger III, claimed that Meadows was bothered by something he heard from the committee earlier this month about executive privilege.
After committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told Terwilliger that the committee had been “left with no choice” but to take action after initially warning that Meadows would be referred for criminal contempt if he failed to show up for his deposition, Meadows swiftly waged a lawsuit against the committee, its members, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — listing them as defendants in his latest attempt to block the enforcement of the committee’s subpoena.