Trump Utters 5 Interesting Words in Call With Historians

'I didn't win the election,' he says at one point
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2022 2:10 PM CDT
Trump Utters 5 Interesting Words in Call With Historians
A July 2021 photo of then-President Trump.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(Newser) – In an online meeting with historians, Donald Trump uttered a string of words that has raised some eyebrows: "I didn't win the election," he said at one point in the wide-ranging discussion, reports the Guardian. The newspaper begins its story about all this with the line, "Donald Trump has admitted he did not win the 2020 election." And one of the historians in the July Zoom call with Trump, Julian E. Zelizer of Princeton, called attention to Trump's remark in an essay at the Atlantic:

  • "During our hour together, Trump didn’t have many questions for us. Even in his attempt to correct the record, Trump mostly didn’t acknowledge or engage with informed outside criticisms of his presidency," he writes. "He did, however, admit to having sometimes retweeted people he shouldn’t have, and at one point he said, 'when I didn’t win the election'—phrasing at odds with his false claim that the 2020 vote was stolen."

Trump, however, is not exactly reversing course: He continued to refer to the election as "rigged." You can see Trump's full remarks in a video that accompanies Zelizer's Atlantic essay. As Zelizer explains, Trump reached out to the group when he heard they were writing a book about his presidency. The former president wanted to make his case that he had a great presidency, and he spent about an hour boasting of his accomplishments on a wide range of issues, from trade to foreign policy ("nobody was tougher on Russia"). The historians, however, did not seem impressed.

Zelizer's assessment: "If anything, our conversation with the former president underscored common criticisms: that he construed the presidency as a forum to prove his dealmaking prowess; that he sought flattery and believed too much of his own spin; that he dismissed substantive criticism as misinformed, politically motivated, ethically compromised, or otherwise cynical." (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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