Cassidy Hutchinson writes in her new book that Mark Meadows declared "we killed Herman Cain."
Cain, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate, died of COVID one month after attending a Trump rally in Tulsa.
But a Meadows spokesman says he was "expressing exasperation" about the media blaming Trump.
When former President Donald Trump infamously held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the summer of 2020, Herman Cain was in the audience.
The 2012 GOP presidential candidate and conservative activist died the following month after being hospitalized with a COVID-19 infection in the days following the Tulsa rally.
Cain notably did not wear a mask at the rally, which took place in the early months of the pandemic.
—The Cain Gang (@THEHermanCain) June 20, 2020
According to an excerpt published by CNN from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's new book, "Enough," then-White House Chief of Staff told Hutchinson that "we killed Herman Cain" and asked for Cain's wife's phone number.
But in a statement to CNN, a spokesman for Meadows denied Hutchinson's account, saying it was offensive to suggest that Meadows initially reacted to Cain's death in that way.
"In the days after he was expressing exasperation that the media would blame the President for Mr. Cain's death," the spokesman told CNN. "Very different."
But this isn't the first time that the phrase "we killed Herman Cain" seemingly originated from top brass in the Trump White House.
According to Jonathan Karl's book on the Trump White House, "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show," an unnamed senior Trump official told a reporter that "we killed Herman Cain," and that many other Trump White House staffers blamed themselves for Cain's death.
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