What else will he try? Donald Trump’s never-ending campaign to keep his name in the news is working. Despite momentous coronavirus headlines (record-highs in case loads juxtaposed to positive results from vaccine trials), an assassination in Iran and President-elect Joe Biden’s naming individuals to fill key leadership posts in his upcoming administration, the President continues to steal the headlines.
His farcical legal team tries desperately to overturn the results of the election, but succeeds only is keeping late night talk show hosts supplied with daily material while striking out repeatedly in the courts; his attempted power-seduction of Republican elected officials continues to come up empty; his 25 White House Christmas parties (indoors, masks optional) ignore spikes in coronavirus cases across the country; his post-election fund raising efforts have netted $150 million to cover a wide range of expenses—past and future.
And this week, according to credible news sources, he is considering launching his bid for the 2024 presidential nomination on January 20, 2021—Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day!
In last week’s post, an otherwise optimistic ode to Thanksgiving that focused on the future President’s leadership team, I succumbed to a dark flight of fancy and raised the possibility that such an attempt at distraction might be yet another way that President Trump would seek to be publicly dismissive of the incoming President. Now, with respected news outlets reporting this week that such a strategy is under serious consideration among Trump allies, concern about this eventuality ratcheted up to a new level.
All this, with no apparent regard for the long-term health and wellbeing of the nation Donald Trump had sworn to protect and defend. His actions are vindictive and petty in the extreme, demonstrating a total disregard for the best interests of the American people. Besides, his attention to the vital duties of the office have been fully eclipsed by his obsession with declaring the election a fraud. But these disruptive, attention-getting antics could pale in comparison to competing “inaugurations” on January 20.
The possibility is even more than chilling, based on Trump’s continued emotional hold on his millions of die-hard supporters. What will they do on Inauguration Day? If Joe Biden sticks with his social distance mantra and applies that to Inauguration Day events, it is likely that any counter-demonstration by Trump activists will rival in size official inaugural events. Trump’s pattern of exaggerating crowd sizes and then attributing such figures as proof of his popular support would be an attempt by Donald Trump to further discredit Biden’s presidency. And what if some of Trump’s violence-prone supporters try to “crash” Biden’s party. It sounds far-fetched, but so does the idea of a sitting President refusing to acknowledge his defeat by more than six million votes three weeks after the election.
All this is particularly unnerving when you consider the signals it would send internationally. Adversaries are emboldened by signs of American instability and headlines of thousands of Trump supporters challenging the new administration through their presence at such a counter-event would, at best, create an additional roadblock to President-elect Biden’s assumption of power, which is most assured when expressed as reflecting the will of the people. On the global stage in our media-driven world, a pro-Trump demonstration and declaration of his 2024 candidacy on Inauguration Day would give added credence to Trump’s erroneous claim that Biden’s presidency does not reflect a clear democratic choice.
This also puts all Americans in a continuing bind as we seek to heal the nation. Should we ignore such activities? Should news outlets refuse to cover any Inauguration Day rallies that support Donald Trump? How can we build back relationships with loved ones who choose to attend? In such a scenario, Donald Trump, the failed reality show host, will have once again succeeded in twisting the American people into knots.