In the months following ex-President Donald Trump’s departure from the White House, the only commander-in-chief in U.S. history to be impeached twice has done everything in his power to keep his name within the public discourse. Despite his permanent ban from Twitter and other major social media sites following the Jan. 6 insurrection at Capitol Hill, Trump has attempted to circumvent the fallout of his de-platforming through a number of other means, both unusual and somewhat traditional. Among them include issuing public statements through Trump’s newly-established Office of the Former President — many of which bear a striking similarity in format and tone to the tweets he posted with fervent frequency during his White House tenure — as well as Trump’s alleged plans to create and launch his own social media platform (one which he couldn’t be banned from, for obvious reasons).
But as The Hill noted in their own analysis of how the former president is currently plotting to remain relevant, it seems like the best way for the one-time real estate mogul to elongate his influence in politics post-presidency might, in the end, have more to do with working behind the scenes than basking in the limelight. Keep on scrolling to find out more.
Donald Trump's efforts to remain relevant could be steeped in GOP endorsements
The latest — and possibly most impactful — method Donald Trump has chosen in order to keep his name circulating within the public consciousness isn’t necessarily an extension of his own family’s possible political dynasty, per The Hill, but in endorsing Republican candidates who have continued to stand in the Trump loyalist camp.
As Vox noted in March 2021, among these career politicians courting favor with the former president is Republican Jody Hice, who announced his intention to run for the office of Secretary of State in Georgia in 2022, a position which would make him the top election official in the state if he were to win. Notably, the role is currently filled by Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, who was instrumental in going public with a January 2021 conversation between himself and the ex-commander-in-chief, in which Trump attempted to convince the Georgia state secretary to help him “find” votes to secure a Trump win in the 2020 presidential race. (The incident also spurred prosecutors in Georgia’s Fulton county to launch a grand inquiry, which could feasibly end with Trump facing criminal charges for election fraud.)
While it’s not entirely unusual for Trump to back or endorse Republican candidates who have continued to grip his apron strings even after leaving office (especially considering his enduring popularity among the conservative voter base) there’s a bit more in endorsing Hice in particular that meets the eye.
Donald Trump's endorsements tie in with his disproven claims
As The Hill reported after Donald Trump went public with his endorsement for backing Representative Jody Hice as a candidate for the office of Georgia’s secretary of state in the 2022 midterm elections, the decision is seemingly steeped in Hice’s own past support. Glaringly, Hice’s most vocal underwriting of Trump was in helping the ex-president tout and disseminate his baseless claims of voter fraud after losing his bid for reelection to President Joe Biden in November 2020.
“Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity…Jody will stop the Fraud and get honesty into our Elections!” read Trump’s tweet-like statement, which was issued from his Mar-a-Lago residence on March 22, 2021. The endorsement itself seemingly referenced not only Hice’s own backing of Trump’s debunked election fraud theory (which Hice himself brought up during his own campaign announcement, per Vox) but current Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s refusal to participate in Trump’s alleged play at election tampering. As Vox noted, the strategy of bringing up both is symbiotic in nature, and its ramifications could go as far as to “potentially empower [Hice] to skew future elections in favor of Republicans.”
Donald Trump's plans to stay relevant could face a few obstacles
Though Donald Trump’s possible plan to keep himself relevant in politics in his post-presidential life might also have to do with attempting to secure his legacy within the Republican party (and with it, skewing the country towards his brand of MAGA-ist conservative politics), the fact that it remains unclear if he intends to run for president in 2024 makes his motives a little less clear-cut. According to Republican consultant Dan Judy, it might not be the overall point. Instead, Trump’s endgame could be an exercise in flexing. “He is going to stay who he is,” Judy told The Hill. “But can he be who he is without the power of the presidency? That remains to be seen.”
Though Trump’s purported plan to continue to exert influence on the Republican party might be his best ticket in keeping his name relevant, there’s a good chance he still has a few roadblocks ahead. As of now, the most recent and apparent one is the partial closure of the Mar-a-Lago private resort and golf club in Palm Beach, which the ex-commander-in-chief has made his permanent residence and his unofficial headquarters following his exit from the White House. Unfortunately for Trump, the resort has served as the nexus of his past fundraising events, making its current closure a detriment to securing the funds needed to help his endorsed candidates campaign.
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