When Donald Trump turned his back and walked away from the podium the other day following his Operation Warp Speed "briefing" in which he claimed credit for a soon-to-come Covid 19 vaccine, he seemed forlorn and diminished.
His normally orange hair appearing nearly white, makeup unable to hide the lines of apparent despair, it appeared that Trump fully realized that despite his bravado and refusal to concede, his presidency is finished, and he is the one thing he despises, a loser.
"He won because the Election was Rigged,"Trump said in a tweet Sunday morning. Then later, he stood by his false belief that he may be able to win the election and wrote, "I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go."
It is easy to understand why Trump is fighting against all odds to hang on. His massive ego aside, the prospect of a future without the legal safeguards of the presidency must be frightening, indeed.
“Whatever shelters he has had as an occupant of the White House would vanish,” said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard and frequent Trump critic. “His ability to throw his weight around in terms of the deference that judges exercise—all of that is gone.”
Tribe was quoted in Boomberg's article, "The Big Legal Threats Trump Will Face if He Loses the Election," by David Yaffe-Bellany, published October 23, which observed:
A federal prosecution of Trump would be political dynamite, and a President Joe Biden may choose not to detonate it. But a new administration could decide to revive Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice by Trump or launch a new probe into the questionable tax deductions the New York Times revealed in a recent investigative report. Trump is also facing an active investigation by the Manhattan district attorney that could result in state criminal charges.
While it is expected that Trump will pardon himself from any federal crimes he might have committed, that wouldn't help him if state charges are brought against him. Should those cases materialize, Trump's future wardrobe could well be composed, once again, of a baggy suit. A jump suit.
Once Trump is no longer president, he is likely to be consumed by lawsuits and criminal investigations. Hundreds of millions of dollars in debt will come due. Lobbyists and foreign dignitaries won’t have much of a reason to patronize Mar-a-Lago or his Washington hotel. Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch could complete the transition from Trump’s enabler to his enemy. And, after four years of cartoonish self-abasement, Republicans with presidential aspirations will have an incentive to help take him down.
That observation rings true to me. While Trump clearly intends to continue as the leader of the Republican Party and run again in 2024, and expects Republican wannabes to pilgrimage to Mara-Lago to kiss his ring, that may not be the reality.
Why should they do that? Ousted from the presidency, beset by lawsuits and criminal charges, Trump will be immeasurably weakened politically. Republicans who once feared him and thus did his bidding, even against their own conscience, will see him as a pariah. Some who today are mouthing their support may, in fact, be planning their own White House bids in 2024 and will waste little time in kicking him to the curb.
Trump will be alone, except for his crime family members, the few sycophants who will be left, and, of course, his cult-member base.
While it would not be surprising to see Trump try to launch some sort of media empire to maintain relevance and bolster his image, that would require work and financial resources. Trump is getting old, does not like to work, and his financial resources are no doubt far less than he would have us believe.
In fact, attorney Roberta Kaplan pointed out to The Times columnist, Michele Goldberg that "the amount of civil litigation and potential criminal exposure" will be "a completely new dimension."
Kaplan is representing clients in three major cases against Trump:
Writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation suit against Trump filed after Trump called her a liar after she accused him of raping her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s;
A second defamation suit filed by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos after Trump called her a liar for claiming he groped and kissed her against her will;
And Mary Trump, Trump's niece, who is suing him, his sister and his brother Robert's estate for fraud and civil conspiracy, charging they cheated her out of an inheritance.
Meanwhile, another group is suing Trump and his three oldest children for enticing them to invest in an alleged pyramid scheme, run by a telecommunications company, ACN, which sold video phones.
And then, there is the debt.
According to Forbes, Trump owes more than $1 billion, more than twice the $400 million that he has acknowledged, against assets of something around $2.5 billion. The problem is that a big hunk of those loans are about to come due.
So it's no wonder that when Trump slowly walked away from the microphone after that Operation Warp Speed briefing, his shoulders seemed to sag in resignation as he ignored reporters questions.
Bravado or not, he is finished and he knows it.