“There are people who serve very close to the president who have told me verbatim that we should expect, quote, ‘shock and admire’ if the president wins a second term. You will see a flurry of decrees. You’ll see the president step down You’ll see the president align with dictators around the world, “said Miles Taylor, who served as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s chief of staff, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead”.
“And if at the moment we are less secure because we have fewer friends and stronger enemies than before, you can expect to see this on steroids in the other four years of the Trump administration,” Taylor added.
Taylor approved Biden’s White House candidacy on Monday, becoming one of the most senior former Trump administration officials to do so.
Taylor has accused Trump of repeatedly using his office for political gain, including ordering officials to cut funding for California wildfire relief, as voters overwhelmingly opposed it in 2016.
The president continued to call Taylor a “lowlife” he had never heard of when speaking to reporters in Yuma, Arizona.
“All of a sudden it hurts,” Trump said. “The reason is that the Democrats or someone came up to him and said, ‘How would you like to speak? Or whatever. It’s a lowlife. Anyone who does that is a lowlife to me. And that’s a shame. ”
Taylor described to Tapper several incidents he witnessed that he said highlighted Trump’s character, including one in which the president appeared to endorse the use of tear gas on migrants along the border. Mexican-American.
“I vividly remember an incident at the southwest border. We had a case where a number of migrants were loading a border post. Now what is normally happening is that border patrols must take crowd control measures to protect officers on the line if limited from tear gas. was used to ensure that this facility was not loaded, ”he said.
“When Donald Trump saw this on TV he actually thought what we were doing was just starting to gas migrants across the border as a tactic. In fact, he immediately called the Secretary of Homeland Security to say, ‘This is great, I love what you’re doing, keep going. He thought gassing was a policy when in reality it was a safety measure for officers at the moment. ”
“I think that tells you a lot about the character of the president,” Taylor said. “And that’s why I think it’s a character election. ”
Taylor also claimed the White House was working to “dig up the dirt” on him because of his reprimand from Trump.
“I just learned in the last hour that a White House liaison employee in the department was assigned to go around to dig up the dirt on me. Now listen, that’s fine with me. I can handle this, ”he says. .
“But here’s the point: the administration, hours after I mentioned it, is already using taxpayer money for political purposes within the department. It just shows that they can’t get out of this cycle, ”Taylor added. .
This story has been updated with additional comments from President Donald Trump.
CNN’s Allie Malloy and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.