Mark Meadows downplays January 6 violence in new book, blaming 'a handful of fanatics'

Mark Meadows downplays January 6 violence in new book, blaming 'a handful of fanatics'
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
  • In his book, Mark Meadows downplays the Capitol riot as committed by "a handful of fanatics."
  • Trump's ex-chief of staff also defends the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Mark Meadows downplays the Capitol riot in his forthcoming memoir, saying "a handful of fanatics" are behind the deadly January 6 insurrection, according to a report in the Guardian.

Meadows, former President Donald Trump's fourth and final chief of staff, discusses the riots in his book, "The Chief's Chief."

"No one would [focus] on the actions of … those supporters of President Trump who came [to Washington on 6 January] without hate in their hearts or any bad intentions," Meadows writes about the insurrection, according to the Guardian. "Instead, they would laser in on the actions of a handful of fanatics across town."

An estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people entered the Capitol during the course of insurrection and rioters violently attacked and assaulted 1,000 law enforcement officers during the siege, prosecutors said. Five people died as a result of the riots, including a Capitol Police officer.

In the book, Meadows also defends the lie that widespread voter fraud had led to the 2020 election being stolen from Trump, characterizing him as "in mourning for the second term he had been unfairly denied," according to the Guardian.


Meadows also minimizes Trump's role in instigating the riot, saying the mob "had absolutely no urging" from the former president despite him telling supporters, who had gathered to protest the election result, to "fight like hell."

Meadows writes that Trump was "more subdued than usual" in the speech and that he was ad-libbing when he said, "We're going to walk down to the Capitol and we're going to cheer on" members of Congress objecting to counting slates of electoral votes for President Joe Biden, per the Guardian.

Trump was "speaking metaphorically," Meadows says, when he told supporters at a rally that he was going to march down to the Capitol. He "knew as well as anyone that we couldn't organize a trip like that on such short notice," Meadows writes, per the Guardian.

Meadows played a significant role in the efforts to overturn Trump's 2020 election loss, including a pressure campaign to strong-arm former Vice President Mike Pence to use his ceremonial role overseeing the counting of electoral votes to halt Congress from affirming Trump's election loss.

ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl reported in his book "Betrayal" that Meadows sent a memo from then-Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis to Pence's staff outlining a plan for the former vice president to overturn the election. Ellis' memo called on Pence to refuse to accept slates of electoral votes for President Joe Biden and to send them back to the states in the hopes that they wouldn't respond. Then, with no candidate having a majority of electoral votes, the presidency would be decided by the House of Representatives, which Ellis believed would go in Trump's favor.


The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection announced on Tuesday that, after a prolonged standoff, Meadows had agreed to voluntarily cooperate with the panel — possibly related to the timing of his memoir.

Meadows has voluntarily shared information in his book about his actions and conversations with Trump on January 6. This could undercut his ability to argue that these details are protected by executive privilege and thus off-limits to the committee.

"Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition," Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said in a statement. "The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition."

Another report in the Guardian on Wednesday revealed, based on Meadows' forthcoming book, that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26 — three days before his first debate with Biden. He then tested negative, per Meadows' book, but none of these tests were disclosed to the public. It was only on October 1 that Trump announced that he'd contracted the virus. He was hospitalized at Walter Reed the following day.