- Trump’s will be a first-of-its-kind post-presidency in the modern era, with “the Donald” norm-busting his way out of the tradition of reticence that has been observed by American leaders who have departed the White House.
- Trump will likely go on to lead a rump government (a T-Rump government, as it were) over his tens of millions of adulating supporters.
- His future incarnation will not only do its best to undermine the Biden administration, but will send consumers, businesses, financial markets and foreign nations riding on an alternative-fact-powered consensus roller coaster with regard to current conditions and the future of the nation and its policies.
- It is up to the incoming administration and the mainstream media to ignore him and focus all attention on doing what we need to do to make the lives of the Americans who support Trump “Great Again” during the coming four years.
- Dan Alpert is an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School and a founding managing partner of the New York investment bank Westwood Capital LLC.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
With his continued intransigence, Donald Trump is rallying his supporters to a new “Lost Cause.” And while many progressives are clutching their pearls in horror and wringing their hands in worry about the threat that this disruptive interregnum poses to (what is left of) American democracy, they are missing a bigger issue.
To my fellow progressives, take heart! The election will be certified by the states on December 14, 2020. In less than 10 weeks Joe Biden will become President of the United States to the sound of huzzahs from a majority of its people, the pealing of church bells, and the beating of pots and pans at noon on January 20, 2021. And Donald Trump, like every bully, will run from the White House well before the US Marshals or Secret Service is forced to physically remove him.
Yes, the finale of the single season (term) of ‘The Apprentice POTUS’ will attract the “high ratings” that Trump has always craved. He will also put on one doozy of a show (or “no-show” when Inauguration Day comes around). But don’t be distracted, you have a far greater concern. One that will emerge, not end, on January 20.
I believe that the current, norm-busting, president will almost certainly prove to be a convention-shattering post-president. It would be ludicrous to expect anything else from Trump. And that poses problems not only for the incoming Biden administration, but for the US electorate, the media and – yes – our economy.
This is because Trump, and not just a few Republicans who remain in office, will not truly concede the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election – for a long time in many cases, likely never in the case of Trump.
And Trump – in his gilded cage at Mar-a-Lago, or wherever else he may deposit himself – will likely go on to lead a rump government (a T-Rump government, as it were) over his tens of millions of adulating supporters, which will proceed to heap a continuing stream of bloviating criticism, conspiracy and counterfactuals (aka. lies) on the American people, the media and the world.
A belligerent and boisterous post-presidency
Trump’s will be a first-of-its-kind post-presidency in the modern era, with “the Donald” norm-busting his way out of the tradition of reticence that has been observed by American leaders who have departed the White House by force of the electorate or by expiration of term limits.
From the moment Joseph R. Biden Jr. says “…so help me God” at noon on January 20, you can pretty much count on Trump commencing his signature block-caps, exclamation point-laden four year Twitter thread on the Biden administration, laden with “alternative facts.”
Now, if the nation and the world were to accept this as Trump merely engaging in the trademark form of creative hyperbole that has always characterized his commercial activities, that would be one thing. Trump will plainly seek to profit from his post-presidency in ways never seen before in American history. He will surely need money – facing, as he is, the maturity of over $400 million in debt secured by assets of questionable value, enormous potential claims by the IRS (together with related civil and criminal legal exposure), civil and criminal actions by both the State and City of New York, and a litany of lawsuits from women he has (allegedly) attacked and people he has (allegedly) defrauded.
Some of the legal challenges may be stymied by the self-pardon (or a “resign and have Mike Pence” pardon) that will shock many but is nearly baked into reality at this point as the logical act of a desperate and amoral man. Yet even if the Supreme Court tolerates such brazen self-dealing as a constitutional matter (by no means certain even with the present Trump-tailored court), he clearly won’t be able to shake off enough of the above challenges to leave him home free.
Having known Trump (believe me, not well – I worked for his organization to try to salvage his casino empire 20 years ago, with tragicomical results as he had no clue what he was facing then either) and understanding his milieu, he has only two things going for him right now.
First is his 70 million or so supporters in the United States (nothing to trifle with). And second is the tarnished value of his “TRUMP” real estate brand, which may still have some value offshore (think Saudi Arabia or the Philippines).
The first is an ocean upon which he can float a media empire – not only news and entertainment content, but “My Pillow-guy” type product endorsements, books and speaking tours/rallies – and maintain whatever political influence he will be left with. The second is the source of easy money (that is, after he has tapped his deluded supporters dry) from brand licensing that may help him keep his deteriorating empire from completely crumbling.
It is the first – Trump remaining in all our faces, and eligible to run again for president – that poses real risk to American democratic institutions, to the economy and to markets. A Trump TV and tent show operation that continues to clench the Republican Party in his, and his family’s, grasp will not only do its best to undermine the Biden administration, but will send consumers, businesses, financial markets and foreign nations riding on a alternative-fact-powered consensus roller coaster with regard to current conditions and the future of the nation and its policies.
Trump has always placed image before reality – in business as well as politics. He is fueled by attention. He will get plenty of it from his self-created media outlet (or Fox News if he and his supporters can find a way to forgive the Murdoch empire) and social media.
It is up to the rest of America, and the Trump-titled “Lamestream” media to work overtime to ignore him, deprive him of his “T-Rump” government, and, instead, focus all attention on doing what we need to do to makes the lives of the Americans who support Trump “Great Again” during the coming four years. That is the only way to move past the era of Trumpism.