Normally, former presidents spend their time giving speeches, working on their memoirs, setting up a presidential library, and maybe jetting off somewhere to lend their prestige in an international crisis.
Not so for Donald Trump. He has reportedly continued to do what he spent a great deal of time doing while in office: hanging out and seeking praise from his die-hard supporters.
The former president now spends much of his time at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida. There, guests have captured him strolling through the grounds to rapturous applause, snapping selfies with guests, handing out cash, and even wearing the same outfit for multiple days in a row he’s so comfortable. In other words, the man is in his element.
He’s also continued holding onto his place as the public figurehead of the Republican party, receiving allies like former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and former enemies like Texas senator Ted Cruz for backdoor conversations/photo-ops/ring-kissing sessions.
“Donald Trump needs the adulation of the crowd the way you or I need oxygen to breathe,” says Michael Cohen, his estranged former lawyer, told Bloomberg, which reported on POTUS 45’s extended Florida chill session.
Outside the grounds, Mr Trump is met with near-weekly rallies of supporters, and he’s not far from his children Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, former campaign manager Brad Parscale, and favoured Fox News ally Sean Hannity, plus Newsmax host and former press secretary Sean Spicer, all of whom have either bought homes or embarked on professional endeavours nearby.
Despite leaving office in disgrace under a cloud of impeachment and after half-baked coup attempt from his supporters, Mr Trump still retains paramount influence in the party.
Republicans recently stripped leadership titles from representative Liz Cheney, who voted for Mr Trump’s second impeachment. They also successfully blocked efforts to launch an investigative committee into the Capitol attacks, and have thrown their weight behind a number of voting restriction laws in states across the country, premised on the same non-existent threat of voter fraud Mr Trump said cost him the election.
All of these efforts, in one way or another, can be understood as a vindication of Mr Trump’s false but emotionally animating version of the last few months for his base, where he was wrongly thrown out of office by a cabal of insufficiently loyal Republicans and weak elections laws.
As further evidence of his continued sway, Mr Trump is still viewed as a top 2024 presidential candidate, even though he was the only president in US history impeached twice.
A recent poll of Republicans showed that three in ten believe he will be reinstated this year. That is, if decides leaving the crowds in Florida is worth it.
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