Donald Trump will do everything he can to establish himself as the “US President in exile” over the coming months, according to the author of two biographies about him.
Joe Biden will be officially inaugurated as the 46th US President on January 20th; however, his early days in office look likely to be overshadowed by his predecessor.
Mr Trump made history last night by becoming the first president to be impeached twice.
The US Senate could now begin an impeachment trial as early as next week; however, it will not reach a verdict until after he has left the White House. A guilty verdict would prevent him from running again.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Gwenda Blair, author of ‘The Trumps’ and ‘Donald Trump: The Candidate’ said the outgoing president will “do anything that he thinks is to his benefit” in his final days in office.
“I think there are going to be a rash of pardons and he is going to continue stiffing his supporters, throwing them under the bus,” she said.
“Now he says he is not going to pay his lawyer Rudi Giuliani. He is not going to pay any of those bills. Wherever he can stiff somebody in the remaining days he will.
“He will spend the remaining time trying to consolidate this right-wing base to keep feeding the line that the election was stolen and to establish himself as kind of like the President in exile with Mar-a-Lago as the White House in exile as it were, a kind of Avignon; the two popes.
“He will be president in exile.”
She said President Trump understood from early on that he could win support by “telling people what they want to hear.”
“He is completely transactional,” she said. “Is it to my benefit? That is the only thing that matters. That is the only red line.
“He would be against cats and dogs if that turned out to be a big constituency. The anti-pet vote. He is for anything that would benefit him.”
Ms Blair said Trump first threw his hat into the political ring in 1988, and made, “evermore serious but never really serious efforts with each presidential election until 2016.”
She said the 2016 campaign was win/win for the Trump brand.
“If he didn’t win, his brand would be bigger than ever and if he did win, he would the most powerful person on the planet,” she said. “He would be the ultimate success story.
“I don’t know that he was aiming at the White House from the beginning of his career. I think he was aiming just to be big, big, big.”
The author said the moment that changed everything for Trump was when he first made comments about Barack Obama’s US citizenship in 2011.
“Trump went out and kind of took charge of the birther movement, which challenged Barack Obama’s legitimacy as a US citizen,” she said.
“He didn’t start that movement but he certainly got out in front of it and when he made those comments in 2011, which was actually kind of a change for him because he was not that conservative before that, but he made some comments, got an enormous response and that was it.
“That is when he turned to the hard right and his presidential campaign really began to be launched then.”
Ms Blair said Mr Trump will find it much harder to stay relevant without the social media platforms and corporate support that has been, “yanked out from under him.”
“It is going to be a tougher thing to keep going,” she said. “To keep controlling the narrative which is what he has been masterful at.
“We can’t forget 74 million people voted for him. That is a huge number. They felt left out and were very attracted to that victimisation narrative that he began long ago.
“He is a victim, they are victims. He is allied with them in that and he is going to make it right; get even, get back at the people that are keeping them down; keeping them from being as successful as they think they should be. That is a very, very compelling narrative.”