Surrounded by a handful of loyal consiglieres, he watched as the rioters stormed the US Capitol – astonishing images that shocked the world and would signal the brutal denouement of his four-year presidency.
Yet it was not the mayhem and violence that caused Trump to roar in fury – not the dead bodies, including a Capitol police officer who died from a massive brain bleed after being struck in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Far from it. As a White House source told The Mail on Sunday last night, Trump was ‘apoplectic’ in embarrassment because the ‘white trash’ mob on screen made him look bad.
‘He was angry, not at the appalling crimes they were committing, but because he felt embarrassed,’ said the source. ‘When they first stormed the Capitol he was enjoying it. These were “his people”
‘But when he saw pictures of the half-naked guy in the fur hat he started complaining they looked “cheap and poor”.
‘Even at one of the worst moments in American history he was thinking about his image. He didn’t grasp the scale of the disaster.’
With ten days to go until the end of his presidency, The Mail on Sunday can today reveal what the aide described as ‘the final hours of a deranged president in his bunker’.
Fuelled by hamburgers and endless cans of Coca-Cola, Trump ignored calls from his closest political advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, who begged him to make a televised address and call off the mob.
‘He was shouting: “Why should I? These people are my supporters”.’
In desperation, aides sought out First Lady Melania Trump, one of the few people whose advice the president still heeds.
Yet, almost incredibly she was in the East Wing of the White House overseeing a photoshoot for a new coffee table book about presidential artefacts.
‘The heart of US government was under siege, our very democracy on the line, but Mrs Trump was calmly arranging porcelain figurines for the photographer,’ the source continued, saying even the most loyal remaining Trump staffers were left ‘dumbfounded’ by her actions.
Indeed, the First Lady’s closest adviser, her chief of staff Stephanie Grisham, tendered her resignation later that day.
Melania was even asked to intercede, to force her husband to publicly decry the insurgency, but she refused.
‘She said nothing. She remained silent and carried on arranging a vase for the shoot. She checked out of this presidency and her marriage a long time ago.’
Since losing the November 3 election – a loss he still refuses to accept even though he has now pledged to oversee a peaceful handover to President Joe Biden on January 20 – Trump has become ‘increasingly deranged and detached from reality’, according to the former adviser.
Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol took place shortly after Trump gave a speech whipping-up an already inflamed crowd, and marked just how far the president has descended into what the aide called ‘his own personal hell’.
‘He’s delusional. The group around him that remain are sycophants who tell him what he wants to hear. He truly believes the election was stolen from him even though there is not a shred of evidence for that.
‘It’s like the president is living in a parallel universe. Everyone knows he lost, that there was no voter fraud, yet in his mind the White House has been stolen from him and the rioters this week are loyal patriots defending him against those who are trying to steal the presidency from him.’
As Wednesday’s events unfolded, Trump’s inner circle shrank even further.
In the end only his chief of staff Mark Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, personnel director Johnny McEntee, lawyer Rudy Giuliani and policy adviser Stephen Miller remained in the room.
‘Everyone else who had pleaded with him to publicly denounce what was going on had left. Melania wouldn’t do a thing.
‘In the end we had to beg Ivanka to go in there. Everyone left the room while she spoke to her father.’
‘First Daughter’ Ivanka was the one who finally persuaded Trump to record a brief video, released on his Twitter feed – an account which has since been permanently suspended.
Trump repeated his accusations of election fraud but told his supporters to ‘remain calm and go home’ adding: ‘We love you.’
‘It was too little, too late,’ commented the source. ‘By then the damage to America in the eyes of the world had been done.
‘There was a sense of total despair among people who have devoted their lives for the past four years to try to do good under this presidency.
‘In a few hours on Wednesday afternoon, everything we worked for was trashed.’
It is not just Trump whose reputation lies in tatters this weekend. Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner have become ‘social pariahs’. A former friend told Vanity Fair magazine: ‘How do you associate yourself with the worst, most toxic people in history?’ Ivanka called the mob ‘American patriots’ in a tweet about Wednesday’s insurrection, a post she rapidly removed.
…….‘You have to remember more than 70 million Americans voted for him. He still has a huge fan base. ‘Of all the problems Joe Biden faces, domestic terrorism is up there at number one. People are mad as hell and they have guns. America’s troubles are far from over once Trump leaves office.