Former Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor, who supports Democrat Joe Biden, said Tuesday that President Donald Trump asked ‘third grade’-like questions at a hurricane briefing and encouraged the head of the department to teargas migrants at the southern border.
Talking to CNN’s Jake Tapper Taylor recalled Trump’s line of questioning when he was being briefed on Hurricane Florence in September 2018, which would ultimately cause the death of 52 Americans.
‘He said, “do the hurricanes always spin in this direction?”‘ Taylor recalled being asked by the president. ‘He meant counterclockwise, now that’s called the Coriolis effect, same thing that causes toilets to spin the other direction in Australia, a follow-up question he also had.’
Taylor had told Tapper that the president often had trouble focusing on the subject at hand.
‘He was just marveled at the way that hurricanes spin, in a way a third grader might learning about Earth science,’ Taylor spoke of that particular experience.
The ex-DHS official, who worked at the department from 2017 to 2019, also told the CNN anchor that he wasn’t surprised when the federal government teargassed Black Lives Matter protesters leading up to Trump’s June 1 photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.
The U.S. Park Police denied ‘teargas’ was used, though shells that contained the component generally described as teargas were found by news crews at the scene.
Taylor said the controversy reminded him of an incident at the border that involved migrants charging at a border station, forcing agents to use ‘limited teargas.’
‘When Donald Trump saw that on TV he actually thought what we were doing was starting just to gas migrants across the border as a tactic,’ Taylor recalled. ‘In fact he immediately called the secretary of Homeland Security to say, this is great, I love what you’re doing, keep it going.’
Trump had mistakenly thought DHS’ policy was to teargas migrants, Taylor recalled, instead of it being ‘a safety measure in that one moment for officers.’
‘I think that tells you a lot about the president’s character and that’s why I think this is a character election,’ the former official went on.
He reminded Tapper that he had been a ‘lifelong Republican’ until making the decision to back Biden.
‘At the end of the day, the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger is a man whose mind is not on his job on a daily basis,’ Taylor said.
Echoing a sentiment shared Monday night by former first lady Michelle Obama, Taylor said Trump 2.0 would only be worse.
‘There are poeple serving very close to the president that have told me verbatim we should expect “shock and awe” if the president wins a second term,’ Taylor said. ‘You will see a flurry of executive orders, you will see a president pull out of foreign alliances, you will see a president aligned with dictators around the world.’
Taylor’s comments to Tapper came in the hours following his pledge to provide a drip, drip, drip of anecdotes about his time in the administration leading up to the November presidential election.
The former official also said others who worked under Trump planned to follow his lead.
Earlier Tuesday, Taylor had tweeted a picture of himself with Trump after the president denied knowing him.
Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that Taylor was a ‘DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE’ who I ‘do not know (never heard of him),’ and went on to complain that the media is embracing Taylor with ‘open arms.’
‘Said to be a real “stiff,”‘ Trump also offered. ‘They will take anyone against us!’ he railed.
Taylor, who was featured Monday in an ad put out by Republican Voters Against Trump, then produced a picture of him alongside Trump in the Oval Office, where they’re both giving the camera a thumbs up.
He served at DHS between 2017 and 2019 and said he ‘witnessed the damning results firsthand’ of Trump’s ‘personal deficiencies.’
‘Alas, I’ll take the bait,’ Taylor captioned his tweet. ‘Haven’t forgotten you though!’
‘I guess the only way to prove it is to tell some stories,’ he continued.
‘Maybe until the election. What do you think?’ Taylor warned Trump.
The ex-staffer also promoted an appearance on ‘Good Morning America’ on his Twitterfeed, where he said, ‘the president hasn’t heard the last of us.’
‘Me speaking out yesterday, you could think of it as an opening salvo,’ Taylor told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. ‘And I’m not going to be mentioning any names yet but the president can expect that in the coming weeks and months leading up to the election he’s going to hear from more people that served in his administration and he’s going to hear more of them give the same testimonies that I gave, which is that he’s ill-eqipped to hold the office that he has and that a second term would be more dangerout than a first term.’
In an ad released Monday, Taylor endorsed Biden, marking the first night of the virtual Democratic National Convention.
‘Even though I’m not a Democrat, even though I disagree on key issues, I’m confident that Joe Biden will protect the country and I’m confident he won’t make the same mistakes as this president,’ Taylor said in the ad.
Taylor also said in the video that Trump directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to withhold disaster funds from California during devastating wildfires there because the state voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
‘He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down from a wildfire because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him and that politically it wasn’t a base for him,’ Taylor claimed.
The former DHS employee also wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday that America is so divided due to Trump’s presidency.
‘I can attest that the country is less secure as a direct result of the president’s actions,’ Taylor wrote. ‘Today the nation has fewer friends and stronger enemies than when Trump took office.’
The Anonymous author who wrote a 2018 op-ed and 2019 best-selling book trashing the president and who said they served as a senior Trump administration official also endorsed Biden on Monday.
In a new preface of Anonymous’ book ‘A Warning,’ the individual calls on voters to throw the president out of office this November.
The new preface is part of the ‘2020 election edition’ of the book.
The new preface will be released Tuesday, but was obtained early by Politico.
The author says a second term for Trump ‘unbound will mean a nation undone,’ and they claim it will result in ‘a continued downward slide into social acrimony, with the United States fading into the background of a world stage it once commanded, to say nothing of the damage to our democratic institutions.’
Monday night’s Democratic National Convention also featured four Republicans’ endorsements of Biden.
John Kasich, a 2016 GOP primary rival of Trump’s and the former governor of Ohio, told fellow Republicans that he believed Biden, if elected, wouldn’t become too liberal.
‘I’m sure there are Republicans and independents who couldn’t imagine crossing over to support a Democrat, they fear Joe may turn sharp left and leave them behind. I don’t believe that,’ Kasich said. ‘Because I know the measure of the man – reasonable, faithful, respectful and you know, no one pushes Joe around.’
Kasich was preceded in the program by former GOP New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former New York Rep. Susan Molinari and former GOP California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard who now runs Quibi.
‘What am I doing here? I’m a lifelong Republican. My parents were introduced at a Republican National Convention by their parents,’ Todd Whitman said.
But she said she was compelled to vote for a ‘person decent enough, stable enough, strong enough to get our economy back on track.’
‘A person who can work with everyone,’ she continued. ‘Donald Trump isn’t that person. Joe Biden is.’
Meg Whitman briefly belittled Trump’s business acumen.
‘And let me tell you, Donald Trump has no clue how to run a business let alone an economy,’ she said.
While Molinari, who had represented New York City in the House of Representatives, talked about how she knew Trump for most of her political career.
‘So disappointing and lately so disturbing,’ she uttered.
As for Biden, Molinari called him her ‘friend.’
‘He really is a good man,’ the lawmaker-turned-Google lobbyist said.
When it was Kasich’s turn the camera hovered over the former Ohio governor as he literally stood at some crossroads in Westerville, Ohio, situated outside of Columbus and the former site of a Democratic debate.
Kasich’s point: that Trump had taken the country ‘down the wrong road.’
‘It’s a path that’s led to division, disfunction, irresponsibility and growing vitriol,’ Kasich said.
The former GOP governor pleaded with Republicans to cross party lines.
‘Yes, there are areas where Joe and I absolutely disagree. But that’s OK, because that’s America,’ he said.
He praised Biden for being a ‘good man’ and a person who had shown him respect over their 30-year relationship.
‘Joe Biden is a man for our times,’ Kasich said. ‘Times that call for all of us to take off our partisan hats and put our nation first for ourselves … and our children.’
Prior to the appearances of the four Republicans, the Trump campaign had lashed out and called them a number of names.
Kasich, the campaign said, was a ‘sore loser.’
Molinari a ‘swamp creature,’ who had lobbied for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Trump campaign also noted that Meg Whitman and Christine Todd Whitman had already voted Democratic once – selecting Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016.