Donald Trump knew that Joe Biden won the 2020 election but lied about it so he wouldn’t look like a loser, onetime Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told ABC News journalist Jonathan Karl in a call Karl recounts in his upcoming book, according to Business Insider.
Trump knew the race was over as soon as the major networks projected his loss, Lewandowski told Karl in a phone call just days after the presidential election, reports Business Insider, which obtained a pre-release copy of Karl’s book, “Betrayal.” The book comes out on Tuesday.
But according to Karl, Lewandowski said that Trump wanted to raise suspicions about the results so he could say he “didn’t lose.”
“He knows it is over,” Lewandowski reportedly told Karl. “He just wants to create enough doubt about Biden’s victory so that when he leaves he can say he didn’t lose and that it was stolen from him.”
Lewandowski was Trump’s campaign manager until June 2016 but remained a Trump adviser.
Many Republicans distanced themselves from Lewandowski in September 2021 after he was accused of sexual harassment. The Daily Beast reported last month that he has been quietly blacklisted at several Trump properties and clubs, as well as at MAGA events.
Lewandowski could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Trump machine prepared months before the 2020 vote to challenge a loss.
Cleta Mitchell, for example — the attorney on the call when Trump told Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to transform his loss into a win — began working with the powerful, corporate-funded right-wing organization American Legislative Exchange Council to challenge a Trump defeat long before the first vote was cast.
Mitchell was also the featured speaker at a FreedomWorks Election Protection Summit in early October, where members strategized how to challenge the validity of mail-in votes if Biden won.
According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll last month, 35% of voters — including 60% of Republicans — believe the 2020 election should “definitely” or “probably” be overturned.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.