Terry H. Schwadron
Oct. 18, 2020
Donald Trump told a Georgia campaign rally that he might have to leave the country if he loses to Joe Biden.
“Could you imagine if I lose? My whole life, what am I gonna do? I’m gonna say I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics. I’m not gonna feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country? I don’t know.”
Clearly more than half the country immediately thought this would be just fine. And we all know better than to accept Trump’s statement as real, or as anything other than a self-deprecating plea for victimhood — an echo of his early racist begging for white suburban women voters to love him again.
But there is just a hint of a what-if reality in Trump’s verbal looseness, a reflection of his narcissist view of his world — and our country. And too often, Trump actually follows through on what has been described as a joking remark, particularly if it helps himself — in this case, a possible chance to avoid prosecution.
What does a statement like this — a threat, a promise or sarcasm — say about the “patriotism” that Trump claims uniquely for himself and his base? Apparently, patriotism, like support of any kind, is reserved for countries that show him the adulation and spotlight he craves.
And what of the practical? What country would have him? Where would they see Donald Trump, disgraced election loser who has turned his back on the rest of the world, who regularly attacks allies and insults foes, as an immigrant they would like to invite?
Questions Facing Immigrants
The first question another country might ask — including Russia — would be whether he has had coronavirus, which would be a fail. He might be rejected simply for potentially coming from a country with rising coronavirus infection rates, deaths, and an inadequate enforcement of public health measures like mask-wearing.
The next, following the questions that Trump has insisted that we pass all potential immigrants, might be whether he can pay his own way, which increasingly looks to be problematic. After all, Trump’s White House is author of policies insisting that say he would not take any public monies in trade for the right to live in a new country — and to pay his taxes, which seems not to be the case in America.
Still, he might be eligible for one of those dodgy ways to buy executive status to a resident visa.
Another country might ask if he has been charged with a crime or is somehow fleeing jurisdictions in which he is a defendant in a civil trial — again, seemingly problematic if he leaves the protection of the White House moratorium on any pending charges.
Then, of course, he would have to have a reason for immigration that would pass muster with a country that he may previously have called a “shithole” or “loser” or worse. Then again, Russia or North Korea may not ask such questions, but instead might just ask aloud how he could possibly be of use to their country without access to American policy-making.
He might have to sign a statement that he would disown the United States and agree to defend the new country in its military, despite choosing not to do so here.
Of course, he might want to bring his wife, or not, who will have to show that she is not just country-hopping for immigration visas. He would not be able to bring his lifetime Secret Service protectors, though I suppose there would be nothing wrong with him arriving with Rudy Giuliani in a sidecar.
Some might argue that moving to Mar-a-Lago — apparently also illegally since there is dispute over whether he has registered the address as a club rather than a home for local zoning purposes — is akin to moving to a new country where Trump will never be bothered by taxes or law enforcement issues.
Of course, Trump won’t leave the country. Nor will he go away quietly. Nor will the various proponents of white supremacist , QAnon, and other right-wing conspiracy theories let him.
No instead, he will invest other people’s money in a network that spews Trump 24 hours a day, in the manner of conservative talk radio, providing a platform for unsubstantiated anti-liberal propaganda. A potential Biden-Harris administration would be too fat a target for Trump, now completely loosed from any responsibility at all, would have to fulfill. Just look at how he is still going after Hillary Clinton’s emails four years later.
If he set it up right, he could sponsor his own ceremonial parades, hold endless MAGA rallies, and generally become a cranky loser with a constant stream of unsupported public statements.
Oh, yes, he does that now.
Of course, the alternative here if he loses is that his foreign bankers will call in their markers, and that a state prosecutor or two could pursue actual criminal charges from the wide choice they have, and provide a whole other new address for a deposed Donald Trump.