Donald Trump’s awful presidency expires at midday on Wednesday [US time] when Air Force One will have deposited him in Florida. He retreats to his Mar-a-Lago resort and Joseph R Biden Junior takes command of the White House.
Trump’s has been an unpleasant presidency, brought about largely by his own bellicosity, vulgarity and occupation of a different universe while being unable or unwilling to accept advice from all but a rapidly dwindling circle of friends and advisers.
From Day One he argued he would be defeated at the next election only by a rigged ballot with fraudulent voting. This has been a constant from his swearing-in to his departure – and secured the support of at least 60% of Republican voters.
By last Friday, the White House was nearly empty. This week only the ghosts and a couple of stalwarts remain.
His press secretary decamped last week. Kayleigh McEnany says she will handle these last days from her home in Texas.
Only golf seems to have occupied his time. Insiders say he was devastated when the PGA took its principal 2022 tournament from his Bedminister, New Jersey, course
Ivanka and Jared Kushner have disappeared. She is said to have played some role in calming her father over the past week in the aftermath of the January 6 riot at the White House and his subsequent second impeachment. He has set a new record in this regard as the other impeached presidents have had only one each.
The Kushners rented a palatial house in one of Washington DC’s best suburbs. It had six bathrooms. They have a constant Secret Service guard but when any of the guards wanted to use the bathroom they had to look elsewhere because the Kushners wouldn’t let them in. Now it has been disclosed that the Secret Service had to rent a nearby apartment for $US3000 a month so the agents could relieve themselves.
Vice President Mike Pence has effectively run the White House over the last days as Trump frets and argues with his friends. Long-regarded as a passive lapdog, he finally stepped up to the plate and fulfilled his civic and constitutional duties by passing the Electoral College formal vote in favour of Biden, even though he had to be dragged off his podium by gun-wielding Secret Service men as the rioters came within metres of him.
Pence will do the proper thing and attend tomorrow’s inauguration.
Now a major inquiry has been launched by the Justice Department, FBI and police into the January 6 riots and the part played by various actors including Trump and his supporters. It has deeply unnerved the Senate and lower House, so much so that the equivalent of a 9/11 formal inquiry is likely.
For Trump, his legal and financial troubles remain. The lawyers and taxmen are waiting. First will be his Senate impeachment trial, then there is a series of government investigations including a civil probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and a federal inquiry by acting US Attorney for DC Michael Sherwin that may include Trump’s role in the catastrophic storming of the U.S. Capitol this month.
More lawsuits allege defamation, fraud and more. There’s an action by writer E. Jean Carroll, who filed a defamation case after Trump claimed she was “totally lying” about her allegation that he raped her a quarter-century ago in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room. His niece Mary L Trump alleges Trump and two of his siblings deprived her of an inheritance worth millions.
A law firm, two banks and a real estate broker who has long handled Trump properties have deserted him.
The New York City Council says it is terminating all dealings with his companies.
The New York Bar Association says it is considering suspending the listing of his friend, Rudi Giuliani – although this won’t stop the ex-mayor practising law.
Then there’s the matter of almost $US400 million of interest and borrowings due later this year, what the Internal Revenue Services does with his tax returns, the future of the Trump Hotel in Washington DC which was withdrawn from the market when the Covid-19 pandemic killed market interest. Hardly a quiescent retirement.