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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Political reporter talks potential second Trump term, aftermath of Jan. 6

Tyler Iglesias | Reporter
Dana Bash and Jonathan Karl discuss former president Donald Trump in the Jack Morton Auditorium.

Political journalist Jonathan Karl discussed former President Donald Trump’s political strategies as he seeks a second term in office and the fallout of the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt at an event at the School of Media and Public Affairs Monday.  

Karl, the chief Washington correspondent for ABC News, said Trump would only appoint people to executive branch posts who are “sufficiently loyal” to him if he secures a second term in office. Dana Bash — a member of the SMPA National Council and an anchor and chief political correspondent for CNN — moderated the discussion about Karl’s new book, “Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party.”

SMPA named Karl and Citizen Data CEO Mindy Finn as the 2023-2024 Terker Distinguished Fellows in September, an annual program that brings “exceptional professionals” in media and political communication to the SMPA community through participation in events and collaboration with the school’s students.

Karl said he interviewed Trump for the book, adding that Trump was “infuriated” the Secret Service would not take him to the Capitol Building to be with his supporters during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and instead took him back to the White House following his rally on the Ellipse. Karl said Trump’s anger over the decision indicated his recognition that the people who later broke into the Capitol in an attempt to subvert the 2020 election results were his own supporters.

“He’s telling me that if he had gone up there during the attack, he would have been very well-received,” Karl said. “It’s an admission that those were his people. They would have responded to him.”

Karl said the chapter from his book, “Dark Days of Mar-a-Lago,” describes Trump as being “depressed,” “bizarre” and “out of sorts” following Jan. 6. He said Trump was “disgraced” in the days after the insurrection, with FOX News “pretending” he didn’t exist and Twitter banning him from the platform due to the “risk of further incitement of violence” following messages he made on the platform on Jan. 6, according to a Jan. 8 statement by the platform.

Karl said he spoke with former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for the book about his visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in January 2021 after Biden’s inauguration, which he said sparked outrage among Republicans at the time for giving Trump a “lifeline.” He said McCarthy told him that he and Trump met at Mar-a-Lago to work on a fundraiser to help Republicans retake the House majority in the 2022 midterm elections and that McCarthy was “surprised” that the meeting was photographed

“That photo was quickly sent around by the Trump people,” Karl said. “If you look at the picture there, McCarthy does look a little bit like ‘What the hell is going on?’”

Karl said many believers of QAnon — a far-right conspiracy movement — claimed Trump would be reinstated as president on March 4, the original presidential inauguration date before it was changed to Jan. 2o by the 20th Amendment in 1933. He said Trump also believed he could be reinstated before 2024, citing a June 2021 statement via a tweet from Right Side Broadcasting Network where he told supporters to look forward to “2024 or before.”

“What I found out is Trump was obsessed with it and he was talking incessantly to people around him about it and seemed to truly believe that Biden was going to be evicted and he was going to be sent back into the White House,” Karl said. 

Karl said he also interviewed former Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office John McEntee for his book. McEntee fired people who showed any signs of disloyalty to Trump, including the the “entire top civilian leadership” at the Pentagon, who he then replaced with his younger, inexperienced friends, he said.

“They are going to be making sure that only people that are hired are those that are totally loyal to Donald Trump,” Karl said.

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