- Filmmaker Alex Holder says Donald Trump lives in an “alternative reality.”
- He said the former president apparently genuinely believes his election fraud claims.
- Holder was filming Trump for a documentary around the time of the insurrection.
Former President Donald Trump likely believes his groundless claims the election in 2020 was stolen from him because he lives in an “alternative reality,” documentary maker Alex Holder said.
Holder was filming Trump in the months surrounding his defeat in the 2020 election, culminating in the attack on the Capitol by supporters that was fueled by Trump’s false claims the election had been stolen from him.
In an interview with UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Holder said that Trump seemed to genuinely believe his claims. This is despite having been told by top officials, including then Attorney General Bill Barr, that they were groundless, and seeing them rejected in a series of court cases.
“He believed in his own lie. He had absolutely convinced himself that he had actually won, and that all the things he was saying prior [to the election] came true, that actually there was some malfeasance,” Holder said.
“I’m not a psychiatrist. But my take was this is not a rational player. Barr had said there was no issue. A few days later he is going on and on to me about how there’s no way President Biden got 80 million votes, and that he needed to find brave judges, and they’re not courageous enough to intervene.”
“So he lives in an alternate reality, and engaging in that is foolhardy. It’s just like talking to a brick wall.”
Holder added: “I was thinking it was absolutely terrifying. The sitting President of the United States, in the diplomatic reception room at the White House, with the guy with the nuclear football outside the room, and this guy is clearly somebody who is living in an alternate reality.
“That somebody you’re unable to converse with in a rational manner is in charge of the United States of America was astonishing.”
Holder’s footage was subpoenaed by the January 6 committee, and the filmmaker has been interviewed by the panel about his interactions with the Trump family during the period around the Capitol riot.
His claims about Trump’s state of mind after his defeat echo those from some aides to the president, with Barr in a recent book saying that Trump became “detached from reality” after his election defeat.
The issue of whether Trump believed his fraud claims or deployed them cynically in the hope of retaining office could be crucial to his future.
Potential criminal charges could rest on Trump’s state of mind, and in his defense Trump has said that he was acting sincerely to address concerns he considers legitimate.
Trump’s belief in the election-fraud claims may not be definitive, however, as the January 6 committee has also sought to argue that even if Trump did not know his claims were false, he should have.
Holder has released footage from his film on Twitter, showing Trump fixating on where a glass of water was placed ahead of an interview.
Holder has denied Trump’s claims he had broken their filming agreement, and his documentary is due to be shown on the Discover+.