Trump claimed George Washington and Abraham Lincoln 'could not have beaten me' if he ran for reelection before the pandemic

·3 min read
Former President Donald Trump. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
  • Trump claimed he could beat George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in an election before the pandemic.

  • "George Washington, with Abraham Lincoln as his running mate, could not have beaten me," Trump told Mollie Hemingway.

  • "I was up by so much" before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, he added.

Former President Donald Trump told Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist, that he would have defeated George Washington and Abraham Lincoln if he ran for reelection before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a series of interviews for Hemingway's forthcoming book, Trump told her that "it hurts to lose less than to win and have it taken away," likely referring to his bogus claim that the 2020 election was unfairly "rigged" and stolen from him.

Trump also reminisced with Hemingway about his State of the Union address in 2020, which he gave shortly after being acquitted in the Senate's first impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. At the time, he bragged about having "launched a great American comeback."

"Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again," Trump told a joint session of Congress in February 2020.

"George Washington, with Abraham Lincoln as his running mate, could not have beaten me. I was up so much," he told Hemingway of his reelection chances.

This is not the first time Trump has compared himself to Lincoln and Washington and suggested he would best them in an election.

In interviews with The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker for their book, Trump said, "I think it would be hard if George Washington came back from the dead and he chose Abraham Lincoln as his vice president, I think it would have been very hard for them to beat me."

But the pandemic ruined his chances of reclaiming the White House, he told the reporters.

According to Gallup, Trump's average approval rating was 41.1%, the lowest average approval rating of any president since the company first began doing the survey in the 1940s. He left the office with 34% approval, putting him on par with Presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. Only President Harry Truman left office with a lower approval rating of 32%.

Trump's highest job approval ratings came in early to mid-2020, and fell significantly in the summer, as the US was continuing to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and more and more Americans died while the economy struggled to bounce back.

Trump's lowest approval rating of 34% came in a Gallup poll taken from January 4-15, immediately before and after the deadly January 6 insurrection, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in a failed effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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