"This might be surprising to some people who know me and know how much I support the president of the United States," said Hegseth in the latest episode of Fox Nation's "Friday Night Live," which is now available on the streaming service.
"If you're looking at Chapter 2," he continued, referencing his just-released book, "American Crusade," "The first sentence of Chapter 2 is: 'Hi, my name is Pete Hegseth and I was almost Never-Trumper. That's right. My name is Pete Hegseth and I was almost a Never-Trumper.'"
In the book, Hegseth detailed how he changed from a loyal supporter of establishment Republican candidates to someone who embraced a candidate like Donald Trump.
"At the beginning, I mocked Donald Trump's candidacy," said Hegseth reading from his book, "He's an armchair tough guy, he's a New York City liberal. Why should we trust him, I reasoned. His celebrity left me unfazed. His style unnerved."
"Before Trump," he continued, riffing on the topic. "I had just been following the well-worn path of Republican losers. And losing is part of what the Republican Party did so well for so long. They lost and then they kind of apologized for it or explained it away and it's frustrating. But when you start to see someone who actually fights, it's motivating."
Hegseth said he goes on in the book to describe what he calls the "Trump spine," arguing that Trump has demonstrated that Americans don't need to back down in the face of criticism of their beliefs.
"I bet you've had a similar experience — like backing down from people was easy to do, especially in the digital era," he said.
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