Evidently it didn't work.
We all have people we turn to for advice in times of need: sometimes it’s a trusted friend or beloved family member, or a mentor whose wisdom you’ve come to rely on when the world seems scary and unpredictable. If you’re former President Donald Trump, it’s your Coke guy.
As longtime New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman alleges in her forthcoming book Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, the former president struggled with his November 2020 electoral loss, vacillating between self-pitying depression and obstinate defiance. In an exclusive excerpt obtained by CNN on Monday, Haberman describes Trump as shifting from consoling junior staffers and musing aloud that “I thought we had it,” into the seditious refusal to accept his defeat that’s come to define the past several years.
“We're never leaving," Trump allegedly told one aide. "How can you leave when you won an election?” He reportedly shared a similar sentiment to Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel.
That, in and of itself, is not new. Trump had publicly said as much during a press conference that September, and reports of him declaring his intention to stay in the White House post-defeat began popping up in the press almost immediately after election day was over. What is new, however, is Haberman’s reporting that among those Trump allegedly quizzed for advice on how, exactly, he should maintain his stranglehold grip on executive power was not only political advisors and experts, but also the White House valet tasked with bringing him his Diet Coke.
As has been extensively documented, Diet Coke holds an almost mythical place in the former president’s daily routine, with claims he drank up to 12 cans a day, frequently delivered by a White House butler whom Trump would alert of his need for refreshment by pushing a dedicated red emergency button on his Oval Office phone (President Joe Biden has since had the button removed). So, it’s perhaps understandable that in Trump’s overly carbonated brain, the person who brought him the sweet sweet caffeine syrup would be as much a font of wisdom as the low-cal pop itself. Or, perhaps it’s simply a matter of a guy who is so panicked and out of his element in the days following his electoral drubbing that he was desperate for consolation from anyone — literally anyone at all! — who’d talk to him at the push of a button.
In any case, while we don’t know what the Diet Coke guy might have told Trump on his way out the door, it seems safe to say that whatever advice Trump actually took in those final days in office, it didn’t work out so great for anyone.