The 46th President of the United States of America has finally taken his oath. Now, whether you are happy about it or not, the 45th POTUS has left the capital. Donald J Trump’s run as the President has been eventful, to say the least. And in tune with his unique presidency, the now citizen Trump left his office amidst more controversies. So, what happens to Trump now that he has parted peacefully? Do his last words as the President presage another attempt at a second term? What about the legal battles that he faces in the coming days?
Before we start talking about Trump’s post-presidential days, let us first take a look at what other former POTUSes did following their departure from office:
Life of a retired POTUS
If the hectic days in Office do not claim your life, then as a retired-POTUS you are entitled to some benefits.
Basically, once done with the presidency the former officeholder can retire to their lives as regular citizens.
But, this does not mean that they do not get any benefits for dedicating their years to the nation. The Former President’s Act, a US federal law since 1958, has provided former presidents with perks such as pension and protection.
Dwight D Eisenhower became the first president to have enjoyed the perks granted by the Former President’s Act.
As of 2020, former presidents are entitled to a $219,200 pension as soon as they leave the office. They also receive life-long secret service protection, unless they relinquish it. Other benefits include medical insurance, staff, and transition funds.
After leaving office the former president is free to take on new challenges.
George Washington, after serving as the first POTUS, started his own distillery.
Theodore Roosevelt, four years post his retirement as the president, became a part of an expedition to South America.
Not all former presidents step away from politics. John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, continued his political career. After recovering from a stroke, the 80-year-old Congressman suffered another stroke while speaking in the House of Representatives. He passed away two days later.
So, the POTUS is free to pursue any path post-retirement.
Detangling Trump’s departure
From how Trump left the office, there have been some hints at what the future holds for the 45th president.
As one of his last acts as president, he commuted the sentence of 70 people and granted a presidential pardon to at least 73 others. Of those who he pardoned, Stephen K Bannon and rapper Lil Wayne are some notable names.
The pardon of the long term ally, who fraudulently collected money claiming it to be for the US-Mexico border wall, could signify Trump’s renewed friendship.
Claims that his allies had been collecting money in exchange for pardons, seems to be supported by the rapper’s pardon.
Apart from granting pardons he also scrapped the “Drain the Swamp” lobbying ban, taking a complete policy U-turn.
As the Trumps left the White House the farewell appeared to be cold.
Apparently abandoned by the Republicans, Trump’s farewell was devoid of Mike Pence’s presence. Pence choose to attend Joe Biden’s swearing-in as Trump refused to be a part of the 150-year-old tradition.
While Trump may be currying the favors of his older allies, he was not interested in being a part of his opponent’s journey to the White House. He skipped the inauguration and left the capital early.
He did, however, stick to the rather recent tradition of leaving his successor a note. It is unclear what he wrote, as Biden said he will disclose the note’s contents after speaking to Trump. And since that is yet to happen, we must wait to know what was the message left by the 45th president for the 46th president.
What we do know is, what the former president had to say to the nation for the last time.
Before boarding the Marine One, Trump said a few words. He stated that the White House had been the best home. He also said that, in four years, the administration had accomplished a lot. This narrative continued after he reached Joint Base Andrews, to board the Air Force One for the final time.
At Joint Base Andrews, both the former President and the former First-Lady gave their speeches. Melania Trump kept her speech shot, saying that she would keep the people of the nation in her prayers. Trump continued to reiterate that under his administration, the nation had overcome tough times.
Fact-checkers were not too impressed with the speech that boasted his administration. We are not going to go into how honest his speech was. But we will look at statements that could hint at what’s next for Trump.
“I hope they don’t raise your taxes. But if they do, I told you so.”
“…you will see some incredible things happening, remember us when you see these incredible things happening”
“I will always fight for you…”
“…we will be back in some form…”
“Have a good life, we will see you soon.”
Trump took jabs at the incoming administration, claiming that they have a strong foundation left behind to work on. With his promises to be back, Trump hinted at his wishes of continuing his political career. However, it is unclear if the Republican party would continue to back his wishes.
As he walked out of the door, Trump let his tongue loose by taking one last jab at China as well.
“…pay respect and love to the incredible people and families who suffered so gravely from the China virus…”
During his presidency, he had eventually stopped calling the COVID-19 the “China virus” due to backlash. Jabs like these could continue to haunt his political career.
Where did Trump go after leaving the White House?
So, where is Trump now?
After taking the Air Force One flight from Joint Base Andrews, Trump landed in Florida.
He was greeted by his youngest daughter, Tiffany Trump, sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr, and their partners.
From Palm Beach International Airport, the Trump entourage went to Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. Still, as the POTUS, Trump entered the Mar-a-Lago club. Shifting from the White House, the former president is free to reside anywhere. He chose to go to his Florida property after leaving the capital. It had been officially listed as his primary residence in 2019.
He might soon have to return for his impeachment hearing to the capital in February.
What is Trump doing now?
Away from the public eye and away from social media, it is hard to know exactly what Trump is up to. Earlier every information regarding his activities would be shared by the man himself on his social media accounts. Since the de-platforming of the global leader, news about him has come from his allies or from official sources. So, we no longer have the privilege of a peek into Trump’s life via Twitter.
To answer the questions of what he is doing now…our best guess is formulating a plan to not get convicted.
With his impeachment trials due in February, Trump has hired lawyer Butch Bowers as a part of his legal team.
Excited to announce that Columbia, SC-based Butch Bowers has joined President Trump’s legal team. Butch is well respected by both Republicans and Democrats and will do an excellent job defending President Trump.
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) January 21, 2021
Apart from this well-known fact, for all, we know the former President could be making a list of people he wants to get back at after becoming the president again in 2024.
What’s next for Trump?
Having left the public eye, is it really time for the public figure to lay low? Trump has never been a reserved businessman. The larger than life politician has been a television figure and appeared in many movies over the years. Will we be seeing him back on our televisions, but not as a national political figure? What are the options Trump has in front of him?
Will he go quiet?
This unlikely scenario involves Trump going quietly into retirement. Never to re-emerge as a public figure. For this to happen, he would have to no longer take up television shows, or pursue his political career. Go into the shadows to be forgotten! The de-platforming was done, in a way, to make this a reality. Most believe that it was his tweets that incited the riot on January 6th.
Pro-Trump mob riots at the top of U.S. Capitol steps, forces their way into the building. pic.twitter.com/jpF0zMVksV
— Marcus J. DiPaola (@marcusdipaola) January 6, 2021
No more official press conferences, no more tweets, and no more addresses to the nation. Is it really that hard for Trump to slip away from the public eye?
Based on his farewell speech, this option seems to be invalid in Trump’s mind.
Will he continue questioning election results?
Did you think that the de-platforming was the end of Trump and his “Trumpeters” clamoring conspiracy?
There are other pro-Trump platforms that have become the go-to for his followers. TheDonald.win, Parler, and Gab are some websites, where many of Trump’s 88million Twitter followers found their new platform.
Trump was repeatedly shut down by Twitter, even after trying to open more accounts. However, since then he has gone silent on social media. He has not yet joined any of the platforms that his followers have thronged to.
This does not mean that Trump will remain silent about the 2020 election. Since the Capitol Riot, he has not mentioned the election. But just like his mention of the “China virus” in his last speech, we could hear him contest the election results again.
Will he run again in 2024?
— Kentucky Dad (@kentucky_dad) January 19, 2021
Going back to his final speech, we all know how keen Trump is about his return to public office. His political career did not simply start five years ago. Since 2000, he has been a presidential candidate thrice! That is not the extent of his political career.
Since 1987, Trump has flip-flopped between multiple parties, before becoming a Republican presidential candidate.
With the Republicans unhappy with Trump’s last few days as the president, would they still back him as a candidate? In the next four years, he would certainly have to pull the right strings to get back on top for the party. However, given his track record of jumping ships, he could again quit the party if he feels unsupported.
For his “I’ll be back”, to mean his return for a presidential run, he would have to not get convicted.
Will he get convicted?
Some may feel that conviction is the only logical “next” for our former POTUS. However, the conviction does not rely on the feelings of citizens. The “incitement of insurrection” trial will be held in February. The Senate managed to delay the trials. Delivery of the impeachment charges, still, is supposed to take place on Monday. Even with the trial delayed, it is only a matter of time before it does take place.
Having been impeached, with the support of some major Republican party members, Trump will be tried for inciting the January 6 riots. If found guilty then he will no longer be able to serve in a public office. Thus, if proven guilty the promise to return in some form could remain unfulfilled!
All we need to do now is wait and watch for the result of the trial. Based on that, we can see which path Trump takes.
What about the Trump brand?
Before being known as the most controversial POTUS, Trump had been the face of his brand. He was noted as an entertainer and an entrepreneur living the good life. Having inherited a successful business, he fashioned himself a King-maker in The Apprentice. Have the glittering Trump name on buildings, golf courses, and even water bottles retained the gleam?
Every single move by Trump was highly scrutinized, during his presidency. A large number of people who bought into his lifestyle, if approval ratings are to be trusted, no longer stand by the brand. Getting embroiled in controversy after controversy did negatively impact his business.
The Deutsche Bank had been one of the biggest lenders that the company relied on. It officially cut ties, claiming that the bank was not willing to risk further negative publicity.
The avid golfer, who notably golfed while a category 5 hurricane approached the nation, built golf courses that will likely not see any big championships soon. Both the PGA (Professional Golfers Association of America) and the R&A (Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews), have announced that they will not be holding championships at Trump’s courses.
These are just a few mentions of the reckoning that followed Trump’s presidential run. Even though, during his presidency, he claimed that his sons have taken over the business, his distancing from the brand did not help.
Trump could renew his brand, if the legal actions against him, end in his favor.
For now, all we can say is that it has been an eventful four years with the 45th POTUS at the helm. The fallout of the presidency continues even after his departure. Both his supporters and haters, wait with bated breath to see what the future hold for Trump.
What do you think of what Trump’s next move will be? Share your views on the former president in the comments.