Since Donald Trump left the White House under a cloud of insurrection incitement, his support within the Republican party has been remarkably strong despite his having shepherded his party to a historic loss of both the presidency and both chambers of Congress.
Retreating to his lair at Mar-A-Lago, Trump has kept a relatively low profile since leaving office, almost as if the shuttering of his Twitter account was the equivalent of the cutting of Samson’s hair.
Now, Trump’s fanatical supporters continue to project their hopes and ambitions on the diminishing powers of the now-weakened political bull-in-the-china-shop, even going so far as to claim that the former president is merely gathering additional strength in his retirement dotage.
President Trump looks fantastic and stronger than ever! pic.twitter.com/Seg4gMUYZj
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) March 14, 2021
President Trump is losing weight and getting in great shape, and it’s driving the left absolutely mad.
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) March 14, 2021
Besides making one wonder whether this woman is looking at the same photograph that we are, Brigitte Gabriel’s statements in her tweets are in direct conflict with the assessment of the folks at Politico who published an article this morning portraying the disgraced former president as “adrift while in political exile.”
As proof of their contention that Trump’s disorganization, incompetence, and laziness has prevented him from remaining an even greater opposition force to President Biden’s agenda to reverse the effects of his disastrous tenure, the authors of the Politico article, present some compelling evidence.
They cite his failure to make good on his threats to launch a new party to compete with a GOP that still harbors a few recalcitrant skeptics to his political primacy and his inability to build a “massive political apparatus to keep his MAGA movement afloat” as examples of his post-presidential floundering as even members of his own party acknowledging that Trump “is disorganized, torn between playing the role of antagonist and party leader.”
“’There is no apparatus, no structure and part of that is due to a lack of political understanding on Trump’s behalf,’ said a person close to the former president, noting that Trump has struggled to learn the ropes of post-presidential politicking,” Politico writes.
“‘It’s like political phantom limbs. He doesn’t have the same political infrastructure he did three months ago as president,’ added GOP strategist Matt Gorman, who previously served as communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee,” the article continues.
Surprisingly, in his semi-tropical retreat, Trump is behaving not like “the political godzilla many expected him to be,” but instead has “maintained close ties to GOP officials who have committed to supporting incumbents, stayed almost entirely out of the spotlight, delivered fairly anodyne remarks the one time he emerged, and offered only sparse criticism of his successor, Joe Biden.”
Even worse, “the cumulative result is political whiplash, as the former president shifts from wanting to support the GOP with his resources and grassroots appeal one day to refocusing on his own brand and thirst for vengeance the next,” Politico opines.
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s erratic post-White House maneuvers are rooted in a relentless pursuit of his own self-interest.
“For any normal politician, it would look like he’s trying to have it both ways but really he’s trying to have it his way,’ said a former Trump White House official. ‘He only cares about maintaining his power and his stranglehold over the Republican Party and it doesn’t matter to him how any of the moves he makes affect the long-term success of institutions or individuals other than himself.’”
In other words, Donald Trump is behaving outside of there Oval Office exactly like he did when he was still the commander-in-chief.
“One former administration official who has been in contact with Trump described him as a ‘pinball,’ noting that his tendency to abruptly change directions or seize on a new idea after speaking with a friend or outside adviser — a habit that often frustrated aides during his time in office — has carried into his post-presidency life,” Politico writes.
“’You’ve got Trump making endorsements of people without going through the process he agreed to three days ago,’ said the former White House official. ‘It’s really disorganized.’”
“’Politics is his hobby and he’s having fun with his hobby in between his rounds of golf,’ said a former Trump adviser. ‘His big test is does he run again? Because if he doesn’t, you’ll see people lose interest in the guy in the next hour. As long as he plays the theatrics he’s going to run again, he still garners attention and creates headlines.’”
The best proof that the former GOP leader was losing his influence on the Republican Party is that fact that the party is now ignoring his entreaties to cease using his name and likeness in their fund-raising appeals even after he called on his supporters to only contribute to Trump’s own political action committee.
In the end, Trump may not face sting of “cancel culture” affecting his future political prospects as his own incompetence — as well as the multiple lawsuits he is likely to face in the months ahead — compete the job of ending his political relevance more quickly and effectively than any wave of public sentiment can accomplish.
It couldn’t happen to a more deserving individual.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.