ABC News anchor Jonathan Karl revealed stunning tapes of ex-President Donald Trump and others talking about his belief he’d be reinstated — and his demand one ally take action on it.
In July of 2021, New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman touched off a firestorm this week with a tweet that read “Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August,” a notion that Haberman herself later noted had the potential to incite violence.
Trump advisers minimized the reports as “offhand musings” at the time, but that strange belief persisted among Republicans at alarming percentages — consistently around a third — for the remainder of that year — even after the August deadline being promised.
On Sunday’s edition of ABC’s This Week, Karl revealed tapes and research from his upcoming book titled, “Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party” that show Trump’s “bizarre” notion was quite a bit more than “offhand musings.”
The tapes feature Karl confronting Trump over the absurd claim while interviewing him for the book, as well as a Trump ally telling Karl Trump demanded he publicly call for Trump to be moved back into the White House:
KARL: The so-called evidence didn’t exist, but Trump was enthralled. In summer of 2021, he put out a little notice statement that included the phrase, 2024 or before. I asked him about it in a phone conversation in July 2021.
KARL: When you had a release recently you said 2024 or before. What do you mean by that? You don’t really think there’s a way you would get reinstated before the next election?
DONALD TRUMP, FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I’m not going to explain it to Jonathan because you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t either understand it or write it.
KARL (voice-over): As I later learned, Trump was talking about the idea a lot in private, worrying some of his advisers that he was actually starting to believe it. Even former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, who recently pled guilty in Georgia for her part in trying to overturn the election felt the need to refute Trump’s reinstatement fantasy. Tweeting, the Constitution has only one process for removal of a sitting president, impeachment and conviction. No, President Trump is not going to be quote reinstated.
And then there was Mo Brooks of Alabama.
MO BROOKS (R-AL), FMR CONGRESSMAN: I am proud to be an American.
KARL (voice-over): The sixth-term congressman, was the first lawmaker to announce plans to challenge the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
BROOKS: In my judgment, if only lawful votes cast by eligible American citizens are counted. President Trump handily won the Electoral College and second term as president.
KARL (voice-over): Mo Brooks even donned body armor during his speech at Trump’s rally immediately preceding the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.
BROOKS: Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America? Louder! Will you fight for America?
KARL (voice-over): His steadfast support of those election lies helped Brooks win Trump’s coveted endorsement in Alabama’s 2022 Senate race.
TRUMP: So, Mo is a fearless warrior for your sacred right to vote.
KARL (voice-over): But by the summer of 2021, even Mo Brooks said it was time to move on a message that didn’t resonate with the Trump faithful.
BROOKS: There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud or election theft in 2020. Folks put that behind you, put that behind you.
KARL (voice-over): Trump’s diehard was booed by the hometown crowd.
BROOKS: Look forward, look forward! Beat them in 2022.
KARL (voice-over): They didn’t want to look forward, they wanted 2020 rectified now.
KARL (voice-over): Brooks later told me that months after that rally in March of 2022, Trump called him with an extraordinary series of demands. Among them?
BROOKS: He asked me to perfectly state that Donald Trump should be allowed to move back into the White House, reinstated as president.
KARL (voice-over): Brooks says he refused, telling the former president and his demand was blatantly unconstitutional. And that then Trump retaliated pulling his endorsement.
Brooks went on to lose the Republican primary.
Do you think he really believed that he could be reinstated?
BROOKS: I sure hope not because if he truly believed that, and he was way outside, outside the bounds of reality.