UK filmmaker who was with Trump after he lost the 2020 election says staffers were in ‘sheer terror’ of him

  • Some former President Donald Trump staffers appeared to be in “sheer terror” of him after the 2020 election.
  • “It wasn’t like a deference to the President of United States,” documentary filmmaker Alex Holder said.
  • After interviewing Trump in December 2020, Holder said he thought “the shit is going to hit the fan.”

Some members of former President Donald Trump’s staff appeared to be in “sheer terror” of him in the aftermath of the 2020 election, said the British filmmaker who followed Trump at the end of his presidency.

For his documentary series, titled “Unprecedented,” Alex Holder interviewed Trump on three different occasions, including at the White House in December 2020 — a month before the January 6 Capitol insurrection — when Trump told him, “It’s mathematically impossible to have lost the election.”

There was an “incredibly awkward silence” after the interview, Holder told host Tim Miller on “The Bulwark Podcast” in an episode released Tuesday.

“I then saw how scared the few people were that were in the room with us of him, which was really fascinating, ” he said. “It wasn’t like a deference to the President of United States. It was sheer terror. I mean, they were very, very, very scared of him. And that was very unusual.”

Holder said he almost expected Trump to admit during his interview that he didn’t believe the election was stolen. But he said Trump really believes that he won the 2020 election and there was no way that he could rationalize losing.

“He becomes somebody who buys into his lie and he absolutely believed it,” Holder said. “That was something that shocked me.”

Among the staff, Holder said, there were different camps. Some believed Trump won, others who didn’t but hoped Trump would “pull it off,” and then those who thought it was a bad idea but still stayed.

“On the whole, the people that I came across were totally in the same camp as Trump,” Holder said.

Miller asked whether stories about Trump’s dark mood are “overshot” and if ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony to the January 6 committee is believable, about Trump throwing his lunch and leaving “ketchup dripping down the wall.” Trump denied the account, telling New York Magazine it’s “not my thing.”

But Holder, for his part, said, “There’s definitely nothing in what Cassidy said that was unbelievable. I never saw any ketchup on any walls or tablecloths being pulled. But, no, in the White House … when he came in he was furious and, for lack of a better word, powerful.”

“And I was very scared,” he added. “I mean, that was definitely the feeling I got. After that interview, I was like, the shit is going to hit the fan. This is going to be a bad next few weeks.”

Holder said he thought, after seeing Trump in that moment, that “he was going to do everything he could to remain in power.”

Sophia Ankel contributed to this story.