- Feb 6, 2014
New details flesh out how the pressure campaign by Donald J. Trump and his allies to block certification of the 2020 election left the vice president’s staff fearing for his safety.
The chief of staff, Marc Short, had a message for the agent, Tim Giebels: The president was going to turn publicly against the vice president, and there could be a security risk to Mr. Pence because of it.
The stark warning — the only time Mr. Short flagged a security concern during his tenure as Mr. Pence’s top aide — was uncovered recently during research by this reporter for an upcoming book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” to be published in October.
Mr. Short did not know what form such a security risk might take, according to people familiar with the events. But after days of intensifying pressure from Mr. Trump on Mr. Pence to take the extraordinary step of intervening in the certification of the Electoral College count to forestall Mr. Trump’s defeat, Mr. Short seemed to have good reason for concern. The vice president’s refusal to go along was exploding into an open and bitter breach between the two men at a time when the president was stoking the fury of his supporters who were streaming into Washington.
Mr. Short’s previously unreported warning reflected the remarkable tension in the West Wing as Mr. Trump and a band of allies, with the clock running out, searched desperately for a means of overturning the election. Mr. Trump grew agitated as his options closed, and it became clear that he was failing in his last-ditch effort to muscle his previously compliant vice president into unilaterally rejecting the voting outcomes in key states.
The warning also shows the concern at the highest levels of the government about the danger that Mr. Trump’s anticipated actions and words might lead to violence on Jan. 6......