Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, travels from his golf club in New Jersey to New York City to work from his office at Trump Tower at least once a week, moving in and out of Manhattan without attracting too much attention. .
The place is not as he left it. Several of his former employees are gone, as are most of the relatives who worked there with him and some fixed parts of the place, like his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who has since turned against him. Trump works there almost alone, with two secretaries and a few bodyguards.
His political operation has also shrunk to a team of former advisers who remain on his payroll, reminiscent of the core cast of characters who helped lift a political neophyte to his unlikely victory in 2016. Most of them go days or weeks without interacting with Trump personally.
But when he spoke Saturday night at the Republican convention in North Carolina, in what was billed as the resumption of his rallies and speeches, Trump was both a small figure and a giant presence in American life, with a remarkable—and, according to many, dangerous—power over his party.
Even without his favorite megaphones and office accessories, Trump hovers over the political landscape, buoyed by the lie that he won the 2020 election and by his own fury at defeat. Unlike other plaintiffs, he managed to impose his anger and preferred version of reality on a substantial slice of the American electorate — with the potential to influence US policy and weaken faith in his elections for several years to come.
Still blocked on Twitter and Facebook, he struggled to find a way to influence media coverage after leaving office and promote the invention that the 2020 election was stolen.
Some party leaders, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, pretend he no longer exists but pay deference when Trump cannot be ignored.
Others, like Senator Rick Scott of Florida, tried to win favors by presenting Trump with prizes invented to smooth his ego and keep him engaged in trying to get the Republicans to regain a majority in the Senate in 2022.
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss said Trump challenged the model of former presidents who lose the election and tend to disappear, and the experience of Richard Nixon, who was treated like an outcast in a way Trump was able to avoid.
As for being both big and small, Beschloss said, “it’s big if the metric is that politicians fear it, which is a metric of power in Washington. Many Republican leaders are terrified of it and dwindle in front of it.”
Jason Miller, an adviser to the former president, agrees on Trump’s control of the party. “There are two types of Republicans in the Washington circle,” Miller said. “Those who realize that President Trump is the leader of the Republican Party and those who are deniers.”
Even in defeat, Trump remains the first place for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in all public polls so far. Lawmakers who challenged his dominance in the party, such as Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who begged her colleagues to reject him after the turmoil caused by his followers on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, were expelled from the Republican leadership.
From his strange perch of irrelevance and domination, Trump focused on three things: repeated false claims that the 2020 election was “handled” and support for attempts to overturn the results; state and local investigations of the Trump Organization’s practices; and your company’s situation.
Trump, who two White House officials said was pleased to watch as his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and disrupted the Electoral College’s vote certification, told several people that he believes he could be “reinstated” at the White House in August, according to three people aware of his comments.
He has been echoing a theory promoted by supporters like Mike Lindell, chief executive of My Pillow, and Sidney Powell, a lawyer who is being sued for libel by electronic voting companies for divulging conspiracy theories about voting security.
President Joe Biden’s victory, with more than 80 million votes, was certified by Congress after the Jan. 6 riot was contained. There is no legal mechanism for reinstating a president, and the Arizona Senate Republicans’ attempts to recount votes in the state’s largest county have been dismissed as false and inadequate by local Republican officials, who say the result is a partisan circus that is wearing thin. confidence in elections.
In any case, Trump focused on the effort in Arizona and a lawsuit in Georgia to insist that not only will he be restored to office, but that Republicans will regain a majority in the Senate through the same efforts, according to people briefed on what. he said.
Some of his advisers aren’t eager to get involved with him in his conspiracy theories and would like to see him push a forward-looking agenda that could help Republicans in 2022. People in his circle joke that the ex’s oldest adviser The leader of the free world is Christina Bobb, a far-right correspondent for One America News Network, eternally pro-Trump, from whom he regularly asks for information about the Arizona audit.
In his 90-minute speech on Saturday (5), Trump repeatedly attacked China for the coronavirus, unraveled a litany of conservative culture war issues, and ended with a long frontal assault on American voting and democracy, in which he endorsed a lengthy list of republican voter suppression proposals.
Trump raised elaborate and baseless allegations of widespread fraud and “thousands” of dead people who voted for Biden, called for voting to be limited in almost all cases to the personal vote on election day, and rejected the 2020 election results as a product of the “crime of the century”.
“I’m not the one trying to undermine American democracy,” Trump told an excited crowd, after falsely accusing Democrats of stealing the 2020 election and criticizing votes in the mail and in transit. “I’m the one trying to save her. Please remember that.”
The former president was accompanied by his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, who had his eye on a Senate seat from his home state of North Carolina but dropped out of the race on Saturday night.
“I’m saying ‘no’ for now, not forever,” Lara Trump told the crowd. Donald Trump said he was waiting for her to make a decision, and endorsed from the stage Representative Ted Budd, who challenged the Electoral College count on Jan. 6.
Trump’s first rally after his term in office is scheduled for this month, followed by more public appearances for his own benefit, paid for by his super political action committee, and on behalf of Republican MPs who support his agenda, advisers said.