- On Friday, November 6th I told you that President Donald Trump — having lost the presidential race — would probably ghost America.
- It appears I will be correct. He’s now telling aides he may go to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas and not return.
- Of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll leave us alone. He’s raising too much money grifting his followers to do that.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
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Like I said, Donald Trump is going to ghost us.
Back on November 6 (that was a Friday), I told you guys that the outgoing president would not attend the Inauguration. I said he would never clap politely after President-elect Joe Biden swore on a Bible and took his place. I told you that he would, instead, probably go to his Mar-a-Lago resort one weekend and never return.
And now, according to reports, he’s telling aides that he may do just that. Go to Florida for Christmas and stay there.
Trump was a sore winner in 2016, he’s an even more sore loser now. Instead of performing his duties through his entire term and then offering his office and the American people a dignified farewell, he’s reportedly thinking about having a rally to compete with Inauguration Day.
Consider this like spotting the person who ghosted you on a date with their new love interest. None of this is surprising from Trump. It’s also not surprising that he’s more than abdicated his responsibility to the American people – he’s highjacked it.
Our lame duck President’s public schedule is virtually empty. Those close to him tell reporters that he spends his days raging at his enemies, complaining to his friends, watching tons of TV, and of course spreading lies about how the election was stolen from him.
In short, he’s showing even less interest in the job than he did over his last four years in office.
Worse than that, though, Trump is actively sabotaging efforts to close 2020 with any kind of normalcy. He’s threatened to veto an annual, bipartisan defense funding bill unless lawmakers also pass legislation changing Section 230 – a rule that governs how social media platforms treat speech and their liability for it.
His office has also complicated efforts to pass another coronavirus aid package. At the beginning of this week it looked like Democrats and Republicans might finally be working toward a $908 billion bill they could agree on. Then on Tuesday the White House stepped in with a competing aid proposal that has only complicated the situation.
At the same time, coronavirus cases continue to explode across the country, and it’s unclear if the White House plans on doing anything about that at all.
Always be scamming
None of this is to say that once Trump ghosts the White House he’ll leave politics entirely. In his case there will be a haunting. And there will be a haunting because Donald Trump needs the cash.
Both Trump and the GOP have realized that his followers will believe any lie he tells them, and they will fund any endeavor that allows them to engage with him or those lies. Already the Republican National Committee and a Trump Super PAC called Save America have raised over $200 million off of the “Stop the Steal” campaign – the unsuccessful, sometimes hilarious, entirely pathetic effort to get Americans and the courts to recognize Trump as the winner of the 2020 election.
Yes, Trump lost. Yes, he and his cronies embarrassed themselves all over the country. But if the money keeps flowing why stop the show? A veritable cottage industry of scammers have popped up to support Trump’s lies for cash – some are internet trolls, some are experienced right-wing, fringe Tea Party types. They know where the easy money is, and it’s with the marks who support Donald Trump.
In this way, Trump has transcended from being a scammer to being a scam in and of himself. This would be impressive if it weren’t an existential danger to democracy. Thanks to all of this clownery there will be people in our country who will forever believe they have been betrayed, that their vote was stolen from them, and that Trump is truly President of the United States.
Trump and his family will raise money off of that grievance for as long as they can. They have a dizzying number legal battles to fund, a business to save, and a general lack of shame that means there is no limit to their entitlement to riches. Unlike most people who leave the White House, they will not enter some form of retirement.
Trump is attempting a scam that will never end. That’s the real haunting, and it is equal parts disquieting and despicable.