book report

Did Trump’s staff kill Herman Cain? A staffer says yes…

Herman Cain. via Shutterstock.

A new book alleges that staff members from Donald Trump’s 2020 election campaign felt extreme guilt following the death of former GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain. At least one staffer believes that the re-election campaign was responsible for Cain’s death due to COVID-19.

The report comes as fanfare for the release of a new book: Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show by ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl. In an excerpt of the book published by Vanity Fair, Karl recalls the gnarly days of the pandemic in June 2020, when Trump insisted on holding a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma–with Cain in tow–over the objections of health experts.

Karl writes that “the Tulsa rally would end up being a political disaster and, for Trump, the worst day of his entire campaign.”

Related: Herman Cain tweets from beyond the grave (again) and this time he’s questioning his own death

The day of the rally eight Trump staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

“According to two senior campaign officials, after the eighth person tested positive, two of them with the Secret Service, word came down from the campaign leadership: STOP TESTING,” Karl writes. This directive came after NBC News broke the story that six members of the campaign staff who had traveled to Tulsa to set up the rally had tested positive, a report that actually understated the number of infected staffers. The headlines were embarrassing. As Trump flew to Tulsa aboard Air Force One, he watched the news coverage on television. It was all bad—television reporters talking about the positive COVID tests, the massive security, and, worst of all, the lack of a crowd.”

Karl further reports that Trump “dismissed the warnings of public health professionals, downplayed the danger, believed he could talk his way out of it all, and showed a total disregard for the consequences of his actions.”

In another blow to Trump’s ego, few supporters turned up for the rally, despite over 1 million requests for tickets. Political analysts later attributed the turnout disparity to users on TikTok who wanted to “troll” trump. Only about 6,000 people showed up. Other commentators also blamed the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in the area, as well as a lack of mask requirements and social distancing at the rally.

Nevertheless, the rally went ahead on June 20, and featured Herman Cain in attendance. Cain later uploaded a picture of himself–sans mask–to Twitter.

Following the rally, COVID cases tripled in Tulsa. Herman Cain also contracted the virus at the rally, and died a month later of complications on July 30.

According to Karl, Trump’s staff felt responsible for Cain’s death.

“The news devastated Trump campaign staff,” Karl writes. “Many felt like they were to blame for his death. ‘We killed Herman Cain,’ one senior staffer told [ABC News reporter Will Steakin] not long after Cain’s death.”

Karl further reports that at least one staffer was also hospitalized with COVID following the rally. Trump, meanwhile, only seemed to care about the low turnout for the rally.

Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show goes on sale November 16.