After President Trump ran out of options to overturn the 2020 election via the courts, he was furious.
Cassidy Hutchinson, the Mark Meadows aide whose testimony to the January 6 Committee changed the minds of many skeptics that Trump could be prosecuted for the attack, recalled walking through the White House with Meadows on Dec. 11.
She and Meadows were on their way to a Christmas party when they came across Trump, as Hutchinson put it, in a “rage” that the Supreme Court had rejected a suit that sought to overturn the election result, according to a clip of Hutchinson testimony played on Thursday by the January 6 Committee.
Trump demanded to know why Meadows hadn’t “called more people,” Hutchinson recalled in testimony aired during Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearing. Then he repeatedly said: “I don’t want people to know we lost.”
It’s a quote that utterly betrays the combination of insecurity and unreality at Trump’s core.
What was important was people knowing that Trump lost, not whether he actually won or lost the election. It was the humiliation that would come with being seen as a loser — not actually being one.
That deep fragility fused with an inability to see the world for what it was: everyone around Trump knew that he lost the election. The only ones who thought otherwise were his die-hard supporters and the large number of people who get their news primarily from MAGA outlets.
This incident, as recalled by Hutchinson, unfolded only after Trump and his election-denying allies had lost dozens of court cases brought before Trump-appointed judges.
That same insecurity in Trump’s psyche emerged at other points in the panel’s Thursday hearing.
It was, for instance, reflected in the glee of opportunists like Steve Bannon. A recording that the committee played which was first obtained by Mother Jones showed Bannon exulting in the days before the election over what Trump was about to do, speaking of him more as if he were a wild animal than an adult capable of making independent decisions.
“If Trump is losing, it’s going to get even crazier,” Bannon said. “If Biden is winning, Trump is going to do some crazy shit.”
And it comes out in other retellings of events around the Big Lie.
Senior DOJ officials, for example, spent days trying to prevent Trump from installing a crony, in the form of Jeff Clark, as attorney general.
But it was only the prospect of humiliation — people making Trump look bad — that dissuaded him.
Richard Donoghue, a top DOJ official at the time, recalled telling Trump that installing Clark would result in “a huge personnel blowout within hours, because you’re going to have all kinds of problems with resignations and other issues.”
“And that’s not going to be in anyone’s interest,” he added.