- Meadows told Klain that “no president” received a daily briefing, per Maggie Haberman’s new book.
- In “Confidence Man,” Haberman detailed how Klain asked for Biden to get a daily intelligence brief.
- “No president ever does that. That’s never happened,” Meadows responded, according to the book.
Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told incoming Biden White House chief of staff Ron Klain that “no president” received a daily intelligence briefing, after the longtime Democratic aide told his GOP counterpart that the incoming president wanted to be briefed on a daily basis, according to a new book by New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman.
The transition process between the administrations of Donald Trump and Joe Biden had already been rocky, as Trump refused to formally concede the race in public and his campaign attorneys were still trying to figure out ways to overturn the results in myriad swing states.
Meadows, a former GOP congressman from North Carolina, and Klain, a longtime confidant of Biden who had previously been a chief of staff to both Al Gore and the then-incoming president, were in communication to work together in navigating the transition process.
But Trump’s continued insistence that he had truly won the election complicated the situation, as detailed in the book, “Confidence Man.”
“I know the president’s saying these things,” Meadows told Klain at the time, per the book. “We will get it worked out.”
But Biden’s transition staffers continued running into issues, as they received critical updates from the Pentagon later than desired, and encountered delays in getting COVID-19 vaccinations set up for incoming staffers in the Democratic administration.
However, there was one area where Meadows sought clarity and seemed to be surprised by the response — as it pertained to the President’s daily briefing.
In April 2020, The New York Times reported that Trump generally did not complete reading the intelligence reports, as several former intelligence officials told the newspaper at the time that the then-president had a short attention span and was adept at veering off onto different subjects.
According to the Times report, Trump often eschewed reading through detailed reports but was attracted to graphics, charts, and other data-driven visuals.
In November 2020, after Biden had been declared the president-elect by virtually every major news outlet, Klain informed Meadows that Biden needed to begin getting the daily intelligence briefing, according to Haberman’s account.
“How many days a week is Vice President Biden gonna want this daily brief?” Meadows asked, per the book.
Klain was surprised by the question, telling Meadows that Biden — a former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his days in the upper chamber — would want to get a briefing on a daily basis.
Biden also received daily briefings during his time as vice president under then-President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.
Meadows responded: “No president ever does that. That’s never happened.”
Haberman wrote that Klain’s request “seemed so beyond Meadows’s own experience that he could not comprehend it.”