Terry H. Schwadron
Nov. 15, 2020
We’ll probably never really know why Donald Trump chose to play sore loser after becoming one. He’s not the first to be dismayed to find he’s been fired.
But two things, at least, are true. One, actually, I don’t care why or much about what happens to Trump personally, so long as Team Trump clears out of the White House, and makes way for a group that actually wants to govern. As he much as I disagree with Trump’s policies in office, I care more that Trump’s self-promotional focus has kept him from doing his job at all — leading, among other things, to massive deaths from coronavirus, a broken and uneven economy and a list of cruelties that only start with hundreds of migrant children still lost in his systems and separated from families.
And reason two, that despite the broad hints from those surrounding him that Trump already is thinking about a 2024 re-match, he actually faces some practical misery first.
All of us have had personal setbacks, probably even some humiliations in our lives. There were no do-overs available to us, only the hard work of getting ourselves up and re-balanced, and motivated to learn from our problems.
That, of course, is a process not available or within possibility for the obsessive narcissist that Trump reflects: He always has found someone, anyone but himself, to blame for the circumstances at hand, allowing him to move on to the next fantasy.
In this case, his delusions about reveling in his 70 million votes and continuing as leading candidate for an institutionally destructive Republican party will simply crush any White House dreams for Mike Pence, Mario Rubio, Sen. Tom Cotton, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or others — which, again, is fine by me if they set themselves forth as mini-Trumps.
But before the ever-triumphant and ego-centric Trump skips to the next set of rallies, we are reminded by all and sundry that the more mortal version of the legend faces some real, practical problems.
“Trump is in for years of scandals and humiliations. We will doubtlessly find out more about official misdeeds he tried to keep secret as president,” she wrote, adding, “He’ll have to devote much of his energy to trying to stay out of prison.”
“Once Trump is no longer president, he is likely to be consumed by lawsuits and criminal investigations. Hundreds of millions of dollars in debt will come due. Lobbyists and foreign dignitaries won’t have much of a reason to patronize Mar-a-Lago or his Washington hotel. Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch could complete the transition from Trump’s enabler to his enemy. And, after four years of cartoonish self-abasement, Republicans with presidential aspirations will have an incentive to help take him down.”
Over years, we’ve learned that Trump the businessman is in trouble with properties not paying off, hundreds of millions of loans coming due, and a tax problem that won’t quit. He has lots of lawsuits pending against him and his company, including those from women charging sexual assaults and defamations, and faces state and possibly federal criminal charges from hiding payments to Stormy Daniels and others in falsified federal election contributions. He faces tax evasion and fraud charges in New York State, if not from the IRS. The list goes on.
Even if Trump manages to pardon himself from any federal charges as he leaves the legal protections of the White House, those will not shield him from state actions.
It would hardly seem to help a future presidential candidacy to still have criminal charges pending.
The Reckoning Still to Come
Somehow, we still need to produce a full reckoning of what happened during the four years of Trump. All this books and assessments are still based on personal accounts of abuse and what Trump or his people were willing to verify.
There are reams of stuff out there still uncharted, like transcripts of Trump’s meetings with North Korean and Russian leaders, and plenty of lying yet to come about in court depositions what did or did not happen in multiple instances.
Michelle Goldberg again: “It’s too much to expect any sudden exposure of Trump. There will be no cathartic moment when everyone realizes that the emperor was always naked. But the question isn’t whether Trump’s support will evaporate. It’s whether it will erode, especially once he loses the ability to make Republican dreams come true.”
On his way out, Trump is gunning for anyone left standing who may ever have crossed him or questioned his absolute authority. That leaves him with friends like Rudy Giuliani and his family members, and groups like QAnon, white supremacists, and any number of Republican senators. It’s not a group I’d call friends.
Trump can call himself king of the hill or anything else he needs to soothe his ego. At this point, he is proving daily that he cannot do this job, and he should just leave as quietly as possible.