Trump regrets: Mark Meadows spilled the beans on COVID. What will he say about Jan. 6?

Donald Trump apparently thought his former chief of staff could outsmart the lawyers on the Jan. 6 committee

By Heather Digby Parton

Published December 8, 2021 9:57AM (EST)

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows walks along the South Lawn before President Donald Trump departs from the White House on October 30, 2020 in Washington, DC.  (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows walks along the South Lawn before President Donald Trump departs from the White House on October 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

Former President Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows was terrible at his job. Nothing in his life prepared him for such a high-level assignment and the only thing he brought to the position was excessive, obsequious loyalty to the boss — which Trump always misconstrued as competence. But the problem is that he's not the sharpest tool and even when he's trying to be a steadfast soldier, he tends to screw the pooch. With his new book "The Chief's Chief," Meadows made the worst mistake of all when he unwittingly betrayed his former boss by telling the world about what is arguably the worst thing Trump did while he was president. Now Trump is reportedly hopping mad about it.

Meadows no doubt thought he was writing a great tribute to a man he clearly worships. The book is a nauseating collection of treacly anecdotes that are enough to make your teeth hurt. In Meadows' telling, Trump is a saint who never thinks of himself and a superman who literally saved the nation from ruin. He is as delusional as the most ecstatic rallygoer and his all-consuming devotion has blinded him.

So blinded, astonishingly, that he apparently didn't realize Trump would be livid if he revealed that at one point he was a weak and sickly man, sitting up in bed in the White House residence in his t-shirt with his hair disheveled hooked up to an IV. It didn't occur to Meadows that revealing that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and walked around with bloodshot eyes, sick for days, exposing massive numbers of people might upset his former boss. His descriptions of a man so weak he couldn't lift a 10-pound briefcase (which Meadows had to pick up after dousing himself with hand sanitizer) and saying things like, "I've lost so much strength, the muscles are just not responding," must have made Trump tremble with rage. Imagine what the vain, narcissistic Trump thought when he heard about this description of his first morning at Walter Reed Medical center:

Trump was up and moving, asking questions like it was any other day. But he was still sluggish, and I could tell that every movement was difficult for him. Every few minutes, he would need to sit back down and rest.

It's obvious that Meadows doesn't know the real Trump at all. 

RELATED: Mark Meadows and Kevin McCarthy have a long, strange history of dubious self-dealing

According to the Daily Beast, Meadows has been going around telling everyone that he was sure the president would be very pleased with his book. This is funny since Trump had already promoted it back in October, calling it a "fantastic book." He probably should have read it first. Now he is calling it fake news, specifically the part about him having COVID and lying about it. Meadows, meanwhile, is dancing as fast as he can to deny that as well, even though the narrative in his own book clearly lays it all out.

He is asking people to believe that Trump tested positive then negative, showed symptoms for days but didn't suspect he had COVID as he traveled all over the country and met with hundreds of people unmasked without taking any precautions. It's obvious that he did have it. He tested positive with a rapid test, they did another test that was negative but they didn't do a real PCR test until days later, long after he was clearly sick. The Washington Post did a deep dive into his activities during the seven days between his first and second positive tests, a period in which Meadows describes him as not being himself, clearly under the weather, looking tired, and determined that he came in contact with at least 500 people. By the end of that month, more than two dozen people in his circle would test positive. Trump was a walking superspreader.

RELATED: Trump's COVID bombshell: He was symptomatic three days before debate with Biden

It's a miracle that he didn't infect Joe Biden, something I would bet crossed Trump's mind as he was standing there on the stage for the debate. He no doubt suspected he had it. Meadows almost certainly did, as he writes:

By Tuesday, September 29, the morning of the first debate with Joe Biden, the president was looking slightly better than he had a few days earlier, emphasis on the word slightly. His face, for the most part at least, had regained its usual light bronze huge, and the gravel in his voice was gone. But the dark circles under his eyes had deepened. As we walked into the venue around five o'clock in the evening I could tell that he was moving more slowly than usual. He walked like he was carrying a little extra weight on his back.

Remember, Trump didn't get tested before the event as he was required to do. The debate hosts said it was on the "honor system," which Trump and his henchmen do not know the meaning of. Meadows may be too dim to know what he was saying there but Trump isn't.

The Daily Beast is now reporting that Trump has been "volcanic" all week, telling anyone who will listen that he didn't think Meadows would put that "garbage" about the COVID test in his book and that his appointment as Trump's 2024 campaign manager is now in doubt. The book's dishy inside scoops have also put Meadows on the hot seat with the January 6th Commission, which is casting a jaundiced eye on his claims of executive privilege. If he can spill the beans for profit, they reckon, he can testify before Congress. Up until Tuesday, Meadows was reportedly cooperating with the committee but his lawyer now claims that he will no longer do so due to some questioning they now feel is out of bounds.

According to committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Meadows already provided thousands of documents and records to the committee and that's what they would like to question him about. And with hundreds of other people already cooperating with the committee, there's a good chance they already know many of the answers which makes the plodding Meadows in danger of committing perjury should he try to cover anything up. His lawyer is wise to keep him from testifying.

But one can't help but wonder if it really that the Big Boss has suddenly realized that his majordomo might not be up to the task of testifying to the committee and has told him to stop cooperating. As bizarre as it is to contemplate, up until now Trump apparently thought Meadows could be trusted to outsmart the sharp lawyers on the committee. After hearing about what's in Meadows' book, however, he's got to be wondering what's in all those documents he turned over. Meadows probably had no clue.  


Heather Digby Parton

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

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Capitol Riot Donald Trump Jan. 6 Committee Mark Meadows