Jason Lewis wanted to finish what he started.
His time in Congress was cut short, one of more than 20 casualties of the Trump midterms, when Democrats picked up a net total of over 40 seats in the House.
One of his regrets: he didn’t fight back hard enough.
That’s why he wrote “Party Animal: The Truth About President Trump, Power Politics and the Partisan Press.”
“Yet no one defied these rules more than Donald Trump. And so did I. But not nearly enough. This book is an attempt to finish the job and tell the real side of the story,” Lewis writes in the introduction.
In “Party Animal,” Lewis, a former congressman from Minnesota’s Second District and veteran broadcaster, shares a vivid account of the radical left, the media, and politics in the public arena during the Trump presidency.
Although he served as a political commentator for 25 years, Lewis said he never dreamed Washington would be as bad as he found it. The nation’s decline started in 2015 when radical resistance groups like Indivisible began cropping up all over the country and set the groundwork for the mayhem we have today, he said.
Lewis said he wrote “Party Animal” because he knew the mainstream press would not provide an accurate account of the Trump years, and he wanted to put history down on paper so people would not forget it.
“We need to document it. If we don’t, it won’t be remembered,” he said.
“If you want to know what it was really like being a member of Congress while a politicized ‘swamp’ desperately tried to bring down the Trump presidency, then read this firsthand look at life on the ground in an era marked by polarizing dysfunction,” Lewis said in a press release.
In the book, Lewis documents what he observed while in Washington, D.C., and while working with President Trump.
President Trump dragged the Republican Party kicking and screaming into issues they had been avoiding for years, Lewis said. He found Trump to be a magnanimous chief executive who was willing to extend the olive branch to anyone.
“Once they slapped his hand after he extended it, he wasn’t going to sit back; he fought back. When he fought back, he saw just the lengths they would go through to destroy someone,” Lewis said in an interview with Liz Collin.
“It wasn’t his idiosyncrasies that got the press worked up; it was his policies, controlling the border, taking on China, finally doing something about immigration … they were not going to sit back and let someone disrupt the establishment. That’s when they really went after him,” he said.
There’s a lot of talk right now on the January 6 Committee about “the assault on democracy,” Lewis said.
But the greatest assault on democracy in his lifetime was the conspiracy between the Democratic National Committee and former British spy Christopher Steele, who wrote the infamous Steele dossier with the goal of bringing down Trump. He saw it up close and personal. He said the Republican Party predicted what would happen if Democrats took control of government institutions.
Lewis said the single biggest political development in his lifetime and a driving force for “Party Animal” was the weaponization of American institutions.
We’ve had chaos before in America, he said, but what we are seeing right now is “out of control.”
“We’ve never weaponized the bowels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) or corporate America for one party, and we’ve never had the press weaponized to do one party’s bidding,” he said.
When it comes to the media, Lewis doesn’t hold back. He describes in his book how the national press used his 25-year radio career to sabotage his reelection campaign and 2020 bid for the U.S. Senate.
“By deliberately eliminating context and nuance, media outlets have morphed into political organizations. Imagine one of your old family arguments being distilled on national television to 30 seconds — by your critics,” Lewis writes.
Lewis told Collin he has rarely seen a metro decline as rapidly as Minneapolis. It’s not the same Minnesota, but he still believes Republicans can win in November.
“They can’t just ride a red wave. They must tell us what they are going to do,” he said.
In “Party Animal,” Lewis writes about the “ups and downs, the ins and outs, the good, the bad and the really ugly during one of the most tumultuous times in modern history.” He believes his book will be validation for many people.
“We need to know how we got here,” he said.