Former US attorney general Bill Barr has unleashed a volley of criticism at Donald Trump in his new book, saying the ex-president has “shown he has neither the temperament nor persuasive powers to provide the kind of positive leadership that is needed” and that the Republican party should move on from him.
In One Damn Thing After Another, Mr Barr writes that his former boss could have won the 2020 election if he had “just exercised a modicum of self-restraint, moderating even a little of his pettiness”, according to the Wall Street Journal.
He also rejects Mr Trump’s so-called “Big Lie” that he was cheated out of election victory by fraud.
According to the Journal, Mr Barr writes: “The election was not ‘stolen’. Trump lost it.”
Before announcing that he was stepping down from his role early, in December 2020 – after Mr Trump’s election defeat but before the Capitol riot – the outgoing attorney general told the then-president that the Justice Department had seen no evidence of widespread fraud that could have affected the result of the election.
In his book, expected to be published on 8 March, Mr Barr recalls the reaction to his assessment. Mr Trump reportedly shouted: “This is killing me – killing me. This is pulling the rug right out from under me.”
“He stopped for a moment and then said, ‘You must hate Trump. You would only do this if you hate Trump.’”
Mr Barr then offered to resign. “Accepted!” Mr Trump yelled, banging his palm on the table. “‘Leave and don’t go back to your office. You are done right now. Go home!’” However, White House lawyers apparently persuaded Mr Trump not to accept the resignation offer.
As he has before, the two-time former attorney general – who also served under George HW Bush from 1991 to 1993 – blames Mr Trump for the Capitol riot on 6 January.
“The absurd lengths to which he took his ‘stolen election’ claim led to the rioting on Capitol Hill.”
Looking ahead, Mr Barr suggests the Republicans should look for a new leader ahead of the 2024 election. Mr Trump has repeatedly hinted that he may stand again.
Mr Barr reportedly writes that the GOP should turn its attention to “an impressive array of younger candidates” who share the former reality television presenter’s political priorities but not his “erratic personal behaviour”.
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