Dream job disappointment: Testifying against Trump

Last updated on October 7, 2022

Sarah Matthews has a political resume similar to a lot of conservatives her age. At Kent State, she joined the College Republicans and made her first pilgrimage to the annual CPAC conference in Washington. Matthews interned on Capitol Hill for John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman, both of Ohio. And then she got a job doing comms for Republicans on the Hill.

But a few years later, in June 2020, she was working for Donald Trump. Like a lot of her colleagues, she was well aware of Trump’s flaws, but she agreed with his policies. When her mentor, Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany invited Matthews to be her deputy, she didn’t think twice. It was a chaotic seven months, marked by the Lafayette Square protest incident, Covid, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Then came Jan. 6.

You probably remember Matthews from her primetime testimony to the Jan. 6 committee in July. She testified about her experience in the White House, as a former deputy press secretary, during the insurrection and how Donald Trump’s actions that day so disgusted her that she resigned that night. The January 6 committee is back next week, on October 13th, for its first hearing since the one at which Matthews appeared.

Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza sat down with Matthews to hear the full story of what it was like for a young Republican to publicly break with the president, upend her career, and experience the full wrath of Trump and his supporters by cooperating with the January 6 committee.