Eric Ueland, a top aide to Donald Trump, told reporters covering the impeachment trial on Thursday that he “can’t wait for the revenge,” according to a Twitter post from Bloomberg News congressional correspondent Daniel Flatley.
When Flatley asked the Trump aide to explain the remark, Ueland, 54, replied, “I can joke but I’m not that sort of person,” according to the Bloomberg reporter.
Before Trump appointed the former Capitol Hill lobbyist to serve as his legislative affairs director in June 2019, Ueland was deputy director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, and a longtime Republican operative, according to a profile by The Washington Post.
Ueland previously served as chief of staff to Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, who was Senate Republican Majority Leader from 2003 to 2007. He also worked for Trump as an official on the presidential transition team following the 2016 election.
In 2017, the president nominated Ueland to become undersecretary of state for management, but he withdrew the nomination after firing then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with Mike Pompeo — who, at the time, was director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“White House liaison Eric Ueland just walked by a pen of reporters and said ‘I can’t wait for the revenge,'” Flatley wrote in his tweet, describing the aide’s remark on Thursday.
Trump faces two articles of impeachment alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, stemming from his alleged pressure campaign to extract personal, political favors from the government of Ukraine.
Ueland’s comments echo a sentiment frequently expressed by his boss, who has frequently discussed his own penchant for taking revenge on his perceived enemies. In 2007, the real estate mogul — with Learning Annex founder Bill Zanker — published a book titled Think Big And Kick A** In Business and in Life. Trump devoted an entire chapter of the book to the subject of “revenge.”
The chapter contained such advice for readers as, “When somebody screws you, screw them back in spades.”
“Go for the jugular so that people watching will not want to mess with you,” the future president counseled his readers. “Always have a good reason to get even.”
In a 2018 Mother Jones report, the magazine’s Washington bureau chief, David Corn, wrote that the key to understanding Trump’s behavior was to understand that “revenge is what he cares about most.”
The “one constant” in Trump’s life is his “desire to get even and smite any of his detractors,” Corn wrote, adding that “retaliation is a religion” for the president.
Corn cited Trump’s own numerous attacks on various public detractors, including some of his rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, media personality Megyn Kelly, and former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado.