Trump was tired.
He was exhausted, the former senior administration official said of the immediate aftermath of his tenure as president. And he just did something he hadnt done in five years. He just relaxed.
People whove watched him closely over the years and even for decades? They noticed. And they were, they told me, surprised. Quieter than I would have expected, Trump biographer Michael DAntonio said. A slower pace than I had anticipated, presidential historian Doug Brinkley said.
There were, of course, reasons beyond mere overwork. In his last few months in office, Trump fanned the flames of the toxic fiction that Novembers election was illegitimate and therefore so, too, was his loss. Supporters of his stormed the Capitol, wanting to reverse the results, leaving five dead. He was impeached for a second time. All of this was in addition to Trumps already pending legal peril. Regardless of the cause, however, he got off to a sluggish, almost subdued start as a former president, lying low (for him) for weeks after Air Force One dropped him off at PBI.
In January, near the end of the month, he opened the Office of the Former President, according to a Statement from the Office of the Former President. It was the first time he used in that context that wordformer. Notably, it also was the last. Thereafter, he did away with the moniker evocative of the past and shifted to the number that will always be hisDonald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America. Trump loves comebacks. Formers for losers.
Beyond practically obligatory, mostly pro forma communications concerning the impeachment proceedings and the trial in the Senate, at the end of which he again was acquitted, Trump endorsed former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in her Arkansas gubernatorial bid, highlighted numbers from a friendly pollster saying House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming was extremely vulnerable to a primary on account of her anti-Trump impeachment vote and crowed about his very good and cordial meeting with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy at Mar-a-Lago. Trump took the opportunity as well to suggest his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time.
In February? Largely similarly languid. He endorsed Kansas Senator Jerry Moran. Ditto Max Miller, a former aide, in his Ohio congressional primary effort against Anthony Gonzalez, another one of the 10 House GOP impeachment dissidents. He hosted Lindsey Graham and Steve Scalise. He did a trio of cable-news phone-ins the day of Rush Limbaughs death. He seemed to snap to with a lengthy statement excoriating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack. He went to Orlando to speak at the annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Committee. Miss me yet? he said. He listed the names of those whove crossed him. He promised retribution. He dropped a tease. I will be actively working to elect strong, tough and smart Republican leaders, he said. We will take back the House. We will win the Senate. And then a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White Houseand I wonder who that will be.
In March, though, Trump showed more oomphmuch more.
Hunkered down at Mar-a-Lago, he rolled out endorsementsSenators Tim Scott of South Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Mike Crapo of Idaho, John Boozman of Montana, Jody Hice in his run for Secretary of State in Georgia against Trump nemesis Brad Raffensperger, others including a pair of Trump-supporting state party chairs. Never just an endorsementmy Complete and Total Endorsement! In an appreciation of sorts of Roy Blunt, the retiring Missouri senator, he introduced a new phrasethe Impeachment Hoax #2 (IH-2).
He blasted Karl Rove, the former top adviser to George W. Bush. A pompous fool, he called him. If it werent for me, he said in what he said about Rove, the House would have lost 25 seats instead of gaining 15adding characteristic ranting about ratings (31 million people listened to my CPAC speech online, and it had among the largest television audience of the week) and working in some old standby epithets (Liddle Bob Corker, Jeff Flakey Flake, Sleepy Joe).
He urged former football star Herschel Walker to run for Senate in Georgia. He urged his supporters to give money to him and not to other Republican coffers. Send your donation to Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com, he said. If you donate to our Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com, you are helping the America First movement and doing it right, he said.
He went back to announcing his pending appearances on TV the way he did when he was tweeting from the residence in the White House.
He went on Newsmax. He went on Fox News. He talked on the podcast of a Fox News host.
He kept calling the election rigged. Rigged, he said. Illegitimate, he said. Fraud, he said. You saw what happened, 10:30 in the evening, all of a sudden, I said, Thats a strange thing, why are they closing up certain places, right? he said in an impromptu speech at a wedding he dropped in on at his club. Its an honor to be here. Its an honor to have you at Mar-a-Lago. You are a great and beautiful couple.
He sent out a statement that read like a late-night tweet: Wheres Durham? Is he a living, breathing human being? Will there ever be a Durham report? He flagged Fox flattery from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He met with Marjorie Taylor Greene. He castigated public health professionals Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx. He called them self-promoters trying to reinvent history. He called Fauci the king of flip-flops and said he was moving the goalposts to make himself look as good as possible. He called Birx a proven liar with very little credibility left and a very negative voice who didnt have the right answers.
I was the one to get it done, he said.
Time has proven me correct, he said.
Most importantly, though, Trump started in earnest, and in utterly unprecedented fashion, to aim his ire at Bidenfrom the situation at the border with Mexico to changes in tax plans to matters of pandemic response, endeavoring to retrain the spotlight on his legacy while repurposing lines of criticism he once endured as cudgels against his successor.
Our border is now totally out of control thanks to the disastrous leadership of Joe Biden. He has violated his oath of office to uphold our Constitution and enforce our laws, he said in a statement on March 5. All they had to do was keep this smooth-running system on autopilot. Instead, in the span of a just [sic] few weeks, the Biden Administration has turned a national triumph into a national disaster. They are in way over their heads, he said on March 21. Joe Bidens radical plan to implement the largest tax hike in American history is a massive giveaway to China, he said on March 31, describing it as a classic globalist betrayal and a cruel and heartless attack on the American Dream.
In April, the onslaught only intensified.
Along with more endorsements of allies and call-outs of antagonists, an expression of mourning of the passing of Prince Philip of the British royal family and the passing along of links to pro-Trump opinion pieces in the New York Post and the Palm Beach Daily NewsWow, so nice!Trumps missives this month got particularly manic, beginning around Easter.
Why is it that every time the 2020 ELECTION FRAUD is discussed, the Fake News Media consistently states that such charges are baseless, unfounded, unwarranted, etc.? Sadly, there was massive fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election, and many very angry people understand that. With each passing day, and unfortunately for the Radical Left CRAZIES, more and more facts are coming out, he said the Friday of the holiday weekend. Other than that, Happy Easter!
That Saturday, he decried WOKE CANCEL CULTURE and then (with no apparent irony) called for boycotts of baseball, Coke, Delta and other major companies after Georgia passed restrictive voting laws Republicans insisted were necessary reforms. We will not become a Socialist Nation, he said. Happy Easter!
Happy Easter to ALL, Trump added on actual Easter Sunday, including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election, and want to destroy our Country!
The next week, donors descended on Palm BeachMecca, a top GOP operative called it when we talkedshuttle-busing from the Four Seasons to listen to the former president speak at Mar-a-Lago. Immediately leaked were the more incendiary snippets. He railed at the rigged election. He called McConnell a dumb son of a bitch. He indicated hes bothered by Bidens overall popularity relative to his lack thereof. Saintly Joe Biden, Trump said.
It spurred a renewed round of strikes at Bidenthe type of bombardment that (maybe) wouldnt be out of place in the thick of the stretch of a presidential campaign.
The Biden Administration did a terrible disservice to people throughout the world by allowing the FDA and CDC to call a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, Trump said on April 13. They didnt like me very much because I pushed them extremely hard, Trump said of Pfizer. But if I didnt, you wouldnt have a vaccine for 3-5 years, or maybe not at all.
On April 18, he commented on Bidens stated date of September 11 to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Trump made it possible, he said. I planned to withdraw on May 1st.
If Joe Biden wants to keep our Country safe from Radical Islamic Terrorism, he said before his sitdown with Sean Hannity, he should reinstitute the foreign country Travel Ban.
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