Reacting in real time to the damning testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, former President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday he “hardly know[s]” Hutchinson, and personally rejected a request she made to join his post-presidency staff at Mar-a-Lago.
“When she requested to go with certain others of my team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down,” Trump said on Truth Social during Hutchinson’s live testimony to the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.
Trump attempted to cast Hutchinson’s testimony on Tuesday as revenge, claiming she was “very upset and angry that I didn’t want her” at his Palm Beach residence.
The former President’s attempt to distance himself from Hutchinson, who he described as “bad news” on Tuesday, came after the committee showed renderings of the West Wing to demonstrate just how close she was to the Oval Office as an assistant to Meadows. Multiple former White House aides also publicly vouched for Hutchinson’s proximity to Trump and his chief of staff before and during her appearance on Tuesday.
“Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump [White House] worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is,” tweeted former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews.
In response to this, one former White House aide said, “everyone high up at the White House knew her. And even if Trump didn’t know her name, he most certainly recognized her. She traveled on Air Force One with Mark for every trip.”
Hutchinson may not be a well-known name outside of Trump world, but she was an access point to the inside of it when Meadows was the former President’s chief of staff. If lawmakers wanted to get in touch with Trump, they called Hutchinson, not the White House switchboard. When they had a message to push to Meadows, they rang Hutchinson, not the legislative affairs staffer, as reported by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.
Trump has previously downplayed his relationship to key witnesses who have cooperated with the House probe.
Days after the committee revealed that Trump’s former body man, Nick Luna, testified that he called then-Vice President Mike Pence a “wimp” on Jan. 6, 2021, the former President denied doing so and said he didn’t know who the aide was.
“One guy got up and said that he heard me calling Mike Pence a wimp … I don’t even know who these people are,” Trump told a crowd in Nashville earlier this month.
But days later, British filmmaker Alex Holden, who has also testified before the committee, released a video clip of Trump personally directing Luna – by name – to help properly stage one of his on-camera interviews for Holden’s documentary.
Trump has often attempted to downplay his familiarity with aides and allies with whom he was once close.