Donald Trump dares not leave office as a loser.
That tag has always been an existential threat to a man so unsure of his very existence that he wraps it in finery. Losing a second term to a Democratic opponent is blindingly unacceptable to his self-image, hence the drawn-out charade of ballot denial.
Pain beyond the limits of a psychologically impoverished president
January 20th is turnover-time, the passing of the baton to a next administration and there are niceties involved in that process. A meeting of winner and loser in the Oval Office, pleasantries exchanged, the shaking of hands, followed by the oath of office taken in a grandly public setting, the outgoing president looking on.
Then the outgoer is entertained, perhaps with gritted teeth, by the incomer’s inaugural address to the nation. Traditions are upheld. Wounds are, if not healed, at least bandaged over as a nation comes together.
But Trump never forgets, never forgives a slight
His four-year term always sought to divide, never to heal and certainly not to feel deeply the obligations of the office. All obligations were to the man, a disassociation so remarkable that most of the nation and its media outlets had no idea what to do with it.
The slights to his character, because of this, arrived daily and he lashed out on Twitter, Fox News and rally after rally, although no prior president had seen fit to continue campaigning after being elected. Death by a thousand cuts, everyone an enemy, subservience demanded from all lest they find themselves fired on Twitter.
Losing is the final slight. Leaving office a loser.
A man unable to face the requirements of January 20th
And so he won’t.
What an elegant solution fo a man always seeking an angle. It’s perfect. He will continue to contest the fraud committed against him, that’s a given. Yeah, the machinery of handover will go forward, but it will grudgingly be conceded by him as a continuation of the deep state standing in the way of the will of the people. Never admit, never concede, never give up.
On or around the 17th or 18th of January, our man in the Oval Office will call a news conference, pumping up expectations of who knows what, but playing the part of the carnival-barker to the hilt. It will be prime time. Trump is a prime time kind of guy.
First, he will deal with all the biggest of bigests and the list is long, from votes won and crowds attending to legislation signed, pandemics fought, stock markets rallied, jobs created and who knows with this man, perhaps even pussies grabbed.
Followed by wrongs suffered and this list is so long I can only stab at it. Certainly is will cover the four-year conspiracy by Democrats and media to take from him by special prosecutor and impeachment what they could not win by election. Then a continual rant, sustained by his recollection of rally reactions in a build-up to the finale.
“For all these reasons and because I reject the political coup raised against me—and will never submit to it—I am resigning as President of the United States, effective immediately.”
Flashbulbs flash, suckers suck in their breath, Proud Boys wonder whether to take to the streets, commentators commentate and President Donald J. Trump strides from the podium.
President Pence, our shortest-serving president.
The wheels turn, Pence takes the oath, Pardons Trump for all actions taken while in office and prepares for all the ceremony attendant to Joe Biden’s inauguration. 46th President of the United States will be carved on Pence’s tombstone and, mercifully, it may possibly signal the end of Presidential Libraries. On Biden’s part, he’ll have to re-order the towels monogrammed 46th and change it to 47th.
Most roads now open to Donald, if he can avoid the slammer
Federal pardons issued by the president apply only to federal law; they do not apply to civil, state, or local offenses. Pardons for state crimes are handled by governors or a state pardon board. So, the Donald is not off the hook for a whole slew of civil indictments, as well as any yet to come, but he’s ducked the Fed.
More importantly, both for his fragile ego and the supporters who believe in him, he will never have to admit to being defeated in the 2020 election. No matter the Electoral College and the man sitting behind the Resolute Desk, it was all a fraud. He can, if he’s not too busy in court, wear the mantle of Winner But For Fraudulent Vote before any rally that cares enough to keep the flame alive and produce a World Tour of Dictators Abroad if his passport is not impounded. Talk shows are available, his own media effort may happen and he can never be called a loser because never admit, never concede, never give up is his founding principle.
It’s so like Donald Trump, it’s bound to happen.