Oh my…T 'n Co are going to may use of that name for sure. They are video artists and want to boost their cause. Symbolism is everything.
Side note - there was a GoFundMe page for getting DJT added to Mt Rushmore. Unfortunately for one of T’s biggest fans Ashli Babbitt who lost her life in the Capitol Hill invasion was tryng to get funding for it.
The day before, Babbitt had suggested starting a GoFundMe to pay for Trump’s addition to Mount Rushmore, and the day after, she lodged an angry tirade at U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
It is not too soon to discuss the prosecution of Donald Trump as an absolute political necessity. How the last nine days of his presidency is handled relative to Trump being removed from office or not is one thing, but he must be removed from the political stage permanently. These 10 points must be kept in mind in order to make this a properly focused and rational process:
1. Total Fairness and Due Process
This prosecution must be a model of fairness and due process. While Trump attempted to move the country in an autocratic direction with little respect for the law, any prosecution of him must be absolutely fastidious in its adherence to all judicial norms of fairness and due process. Even though Trump tried to be above the law, he must be pursued for prosecution with utmost respect toward the law.
2. Prosecution of Presidential Crimes
Donald Trump should not be prosecuted for crimes he committed in his capacity as president of the United States. There is no doubt that charges could be brought for obstruction of justice and other crimes, most notably his most recent attempt to pressure the Georgia secretary of state to commit election fraud and for inciting the Capitol Hill riot. However, any attempt to turn presidential acts, no matter how heinous, into crimes will only be viewed by his supporters as Trump being politically persecuted by political enemies. The last thing a prosecution of Donald Trump should do is elevate Trump to political martyr status among his followers.
3. The Federal Government Should Not Prosecute
While the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of New York and for the District of Columbia probably have substantial evidence around which prosecutions could be built, putting the U.S. Justice Department in the position of prosecuting this former president will only cause both the new attorney general and the entire Biden administration to be viewed as partisan actors. There is simply no way to convince 74 million voters that a Biden administration led prosecution of the political actions of the candidate they voted for is a step in the direction of trying to find bipartisan ground on policy solutions.
4. Do Not Prosecute The Stormy Daniels Case
It will be particularly difficult for federal prosecutors not to pursue the case where Donald Trump was already found to be an unindicted co-conspirator by a grand jury in the Michael Cohen/Stormy Daniels case. In that case the president’s former personal attorney has testified, in his own guilty plea, that he was in fact ordered to make illicit payoffs by President Trump. However, the federal government needs to stay out of prosecutions, even where as here the case has essentially already been made, and prosecuting him as a co-conspirator would be very low hanging fruit once he is no longer in office.
5. A Self-Pardon Will Force a Federal Indictment
It was thought that Trump might well resign in the last couple of days of his presidency, not to succumb to the pressure he do so, but in order to be pardoned by Vice President Mike Pence, who would then become president and issue a sweeping pardon absolving Trump of any possible federal criminal liability. However, given the deterioration in their relationship over last week’s events, it is far less likely Vice President Pence would play such a role, particularly given how pardoning these actions would reflect on Pence’s own legacy. Thoughtful constitutional scholars have clearly opined that a president pardoning himself would put a president beyond the reach of law, both in or out of office, in a country where it’s been clearly established no person is above the law. If Trump goes the self-pardon route then the Justice Department must take the prosecutorial initiative and pursue a federal indictment of Trump in order that there be a case in controversy that can reach the Supreme Court so it can declare self-pardons unconstitutional. Thus, the self-pardon path to protect himself from criminal liability would force a criminal prosecution of Trump to nullify any notion that self-pardons are permissible.
6. Prosecute to Take Trump Off the Political Playing Field
The most important issue in prosecuting Donald Trump is to permanently remove him from the political playing field. That is, to diminish him as much as possible from having enormous swat over the base of Republican supporters that made 147 members of the House and Senate—over half of all elected Republicans on Capitol Hill—think it was a good idea to ignore reality, ignore the law and ignore their constitutional responsibilities in order to try to nullify the legitimate Electoral College outcome. And amazingly they then did so immediately after the entire big lie of a stolen election was used to incite a Capitol Hill riot that forced those same legislators to flee. If after the darkest event ever on the grounds of Capitol Hill was not enough to separate that many congressional Republicans from Donald Trump because of their perception of his gravitational pull over their constituents, then clearly prosecution of Trump for political acts will not do that. It would be an enormously unhealthy burden on our democratic system for the next four years to have Donald Trump acting as a legitimate political actor, laying down the litmus tests for what Republican legislators can and cannot do. His ongoing political engagement will cause massive disruption, as well as nothing more than assure a poisonous political environment.
7. Prosecute Trump for White-Collar Crimes
Trump has recast the Republican Party as a cult of personality—and to fully negate that the person needs to be recast as a common criminal. Donald Trump must be laid bare as nothing more than a common white-collar criminal who has been found guilty by a lay jury of financial crimes. Criminal prosecution as a crook, divorced from political acts, can achieve reducing his perceived hold on the vast majority of Republican voters. This needs to be conducted by the Manhattan district attorney and the New York state attorney general, or for that matter any other state in which Donald Trump or the Trump organization has done business. These investigations and prosecutions should focus in on the myriad reports that suggest tax evasion, bank fraud, illegal corporate payments and money laundering. Prosecution in these areas make it clear to his political base, that this guy should be viewed as no more than a convicted felon who should serve time in prison for his criminal offenses like any other convicted criminal.
8. Some Will Always Scream Political Persecution
While criminal prosecution and conviction will lead to his sharply diminished relevance, there will be some who will suggest that even being pursued for white-collar criminal activity is partisan politics and not justice served. There will no doubt be a contingent of voters who will always hold this view, but the point here is to remove his hold on a significant enough portion of the Republican Party by diminishing his legitimacy to the greatest extent possible as a key step in restoring political health to the country.
9. Federal Agencies Can Help Build State and Local Cases
The FBI, the IRS and any other federal government agencies that can legally provide support to the state and local prosecution effort should be greenlighted by the Biden administration to make those resources available. Such an effort will certainly help expedite bringing these criminal cases to finality.
10. Indict and He May Flee Sparing Trial
Speed really matters here. The faster these investigations and prosecutions can be pursued the better—because until that time it seems that Donald Trump’s political swat, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent efforts to somewhat undermine it, will largely remain intact. Barely any legislators dropped their opposition to the Electoral College slates even after the tape emerged clearly outing Trump for election fraud, or worse, even after the Hill riot. Moreover, as Donald Trump stated in one of his speeches—“Could you imagine if I lose?.. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country.”—indicting him might actually cause him to flee to a country that has no extradition treaty with the United States, such as Brazil, thus, avoiding a long drawn out criminal trial, and providing a speedier result. While Russia would also qualify as such a country in that regard, there is not enough poetic justice in the world to think that Russia would be the final resting ground of our 45th president—assuring that his legacy would forever be linked to the words “Russian asset” on top of “insurrection president.”
Trump is essentially knee-capped, an ppropriate punishment for the Bully-in-Chief who has lost his power and thwarted the safety of the nation with the onslaught of Insurrectionist mobs which T promoted.
The fallout on Trump for his role in riling up thousands of supporters in a speech ahead of their deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol last week has intensified quickly - leaving the world’s most powerful leader as a pariah in many quarters, more isolated than ever.
Trump won 74 million votes in the November election - the second-most ever behind President-elect Joe Biden’s 81 million - but Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have cut him off from easily reaching them in the real-time stream of explosive, demeaning and sometimes dangerous missives that have defined his presidency. Three banks, two real estate companies and the 2022 PGA Championship tournament have severed ties with the Trump Organization at a time when Trump and his family are facing mounting pressure from massive financial debts.
Leaders in tiny Luxembourg canceled meetings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Belgian leaders condemned the attack on the Capitol, prompting the top U.S. diplomat to scrap a final foreign trip to Europe this week. And some Republicans - beyond Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, the lone GOP lawmaker to buck Trump in January’s impeachment trial - voiced support for the second impeachment effort from Democrats on Wednesday.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a president,” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, said in a statement ahead of the vote. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reportedly floated the idea of censuring Trump, though he opposed impeachment.
“The House of Trump is unraveling and it’s what happens when he’s about to lose power,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said. “He was a bully president and so people were fearful of him, but with only a few days left in his tenure people realize he’s about to be an ex-president with a boatload of legal suits and a brand that is no longer neon.”
Trump Is on the Verge of Losing Everything
President Trump’s second impeachment, like the other repudiations he has suffered, feels provisional. He is never quite banished. He is impeached, but Senate Republicans refuse to convict or even allow evidence into his trial. He loses the election, but won’t concede, and may just run again. He is impeached again, but his trial is delayed until after his departure date. It feels as if we have spent four years watching the wheels come off, yet the vehicle somehow still keeps rolling forward.
But now, finally, the end is at hand. Trump is suffering a series of wounds that, in combination, are likely to be fatal after Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20. Trump is obviously going to surrender his office. Beyond that looming defeat, he is undergoing a cascading sequence of political, financial, and legal setbacks that cumulatively spell utter ruin. Trump is not only losing his job but quite possibly everything else.
One crisis, though the most opaque, concerns Trump’s business. Many of his sources of income are drying up, either owing to the coronavirus pandemic or, more often, his toxic public image. The Washington Post has toted up the setbacks facing the Trump Organization, which include cancellations of partnerships with New York City government, three banks, the PGA Championship, and a real-estate firm that handled many of his leasing agreements. Meanwhile, he faces the closure of many of his hotels. And he is staring down two defamation lawsuits. Oh, and Trump has to repay, over the next four years, more than $300 million in outstanding loans he personally guaranteed.
Trump has reinvented his business model before, and he may discover new income streams, probably by monetizing the loyalty of his fanatical base through some kind of Trump-branded “news” organization, as has been predicted since before the 2016 election. But starting a media property is difficult and hardly a guarantee to make money. (It’s not as if conservative alt-news fans have nowhere else to find an angry white man shouting about antifa, socialism, and Black Lives Matter protesters.) One Republican who speaks to Trump hopefully suggested Trump can make money holding more rallies: “If you can [get] 30,000 people to show up and you charge them $5, that’s real money,” he told the Post two months ago. Actually, a $150,000 gross payout, before deducting the costs of renting a venue, staff, security, and travel, is probably a negligible — or even negative — profit, not “real money,” and the fact it’s being considered reveals a certain desperation.
And if Trump can’t make money luring customers to watch him do the “Lock them up” chant and dance to “Macho Man,” and he can’t do the hard work of launching a lucrative media brand, then he’s back to giving away his rants for free on other peoples’ networks (now that he can no longer give them away for free on Twitter).
If this were still 2015, Trump could fall back on his tried-and-true income generators: money laundering and tax fraud. The problem is that his business model relied on chronically lax enforcement of those financial crimes. And now he is under investigation by two different prosecutors in New York State for what appear to be black-letter violations of tax law. At minimum, these probes will make it impossible for him to stay afloat by stealing more money. At maximum, he faces the serious risk of millions of dollars in fines or a criminal prosecution that could send him to prison.
Trump reportedly plans to pardon himself along with a very broad swath of his hangers-on. But a pardon hardly solves his problems. For one thing, a federal pardon is useless against state-level crimes. For another, the self-pardon is a theoretical maneuver that’s never been tested, and it’s not clear whether the courts will agree it is even possible to do so.
And what’s more, a pardon might constitute an admission of guilt, which could open up Trump to more private lawsuits. Remember how O. J. Simpson was ordered to pay $34 million to the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, even after he beat the murder rap? The families of victims of the January 6 riot might well sue Trump for his role in inciting the violence. Trump might try pardoning himself to make sure he can’t be charged with criminal incitement, but admitting the crime makes it even easier to bring a civil suit against him.
The easiest way out of the self-pardon dilemma would be for Trump to make a deal with Mike Pence, under which he would resign before leaving office and Pence would grant him a pardon. Unfortunately for Trump, Pence is still sore about the whole “whipping up a paramilitary mob to lynch him” episode. ABC reported recently that Trump does not want to resign, in part because he doesn’t trust his vice-president to pardon him.
The assumption until now has always been that Trump wouldn’t really be convicted of crimes or sentenced to prison, despite the fairly clear evidence of his criminality. American ex-presidents don’t go to jail; they go on book tours.
That supposition wasn’t wrong, exactly. It rested on the understanding of a broad norm of legal deference to powerful public officials and an understanding of the dangers of criminalizing political disagreement. But what has happened to Trump in the weeks since the election, and especially since the insurrection, is that he has been stripped of his elite impunity. The displays of renunciation by corporate donors and Republican officials, even if they lack concrete authority, have sent a clear message about Donald Trump’s place in American society.
It might be easy to overlook the significance of Mitch McConnell letting it be known that he wishes to be rid of Trump. McConnell probably won’t push for Trump’s conviction in a second impeachment trial, but he does wish to disqualify Trump from holding office and clear away the threat of a third straight presidential election with Trump at the top of the ticket. A prison sentence would solve that problem nicely.
McConnell obviously can’t dictate decisions by prosecutors or courts. But courts do follow the lead of political elites. And if McConnell sees Trump as a liability for the party and the conservative movement, the ideologue judges he helped install just might see it the same way. Trump will be staving off lawsuits, state prosecutions, and possibly federal prosecutions. He needs help from the courts, and the reserves of latent deference and sympathy he might have counted on to save him will be exhausted.
At noon on January 20, Trump will be in desperate shape. His business is floundering, his partners are fleeing, his loans are delinquent, prosecutors will be coming after him, and the legal impunity he enjoyed through his office will be gone. He will be walking naked into a cold and friendless world. What appeared to be a brilliant strategy for escaping consequences was merely a tactic for putting them off. The bill is coming due.
President Trump will leave Washington this week politically wounded, silenced on social media and essentially unwelcome in his lifelong hometown of New York.
By migrating instead to Palm Beach, Fla., Trump plans to inhabit an alternative reality of adoration and affirmation. The defeated president will take up residence at his gilded Mar-a-Lago Club, where dues-paying members applaud him whenever he eats meals or mingles on the deck. He is sure to take in the same celebratory fervor whenever he plays golf at one of the two Trump-branded courses nearby.
In Florida — one of only two top battleground states Trump won in November — Trump will be living in a veritable MAGA oasis, to use the acronym for his “Make American Great Again” campaign slogan. South Florida has fast become a hub of right-wing power brokers and media characters, and some of Trump’s adult children are making plans to move to the area.
Even as Trump broods privately over his second impeachment this past week and the election he continues to falsely insist he won, his aides are at work to establish a Trump fiefdom in the Sunshine State aimed at maintaining his influence over Republican politics, according to allies and advisers, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.
Some of Trump’s associates are buzzing about a possible presidential library and museum — likely located, yes, in Florida — and about the birth of a family dynasty, should his children, Donald Jr. or Ivanka, someday run for political office. Florida is seen as a better launchpad for the Trumps than New York, given the outgoing president’s popularity in the former. Some in Trump’s orbit are talking up the idea of Ivanka possibly running for Senate in 2022, when the term of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will be up.
Trump has become something of a pariah in the nation’s capital of Washington and its financial center of New York in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol that he incited, but Florida offers him a place to try to rehabilitate himself.
Newsmax chief executive Christopher Ruddy, a longtime Trump friend and Mar-a-Lago member, predicted that the president would remain a powerful force in politics and the media regardless of his current woes.
“We don’t know what legal issues are going to arise, but discounting those, I think he’s going to remain a global force,” Ruddy said. “I think he’s going to like being post-president more than he liked being president, because you have a lot of the perks without as many of the restrictions.”
Trump to issue around 100 pardons and commutations Tuesday, sources say - CNNPolitics
(CNN)President Donald Trump is preparing to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, according to three people familiar with the matter, a major batch of clemency actions that includes white collar criminals, high-profile rappers and others but – as of now – is not expected to include Trump himself.
The White House held a meeting on Sunday to finalize the list of pardons, two sources said.
Debt cloud hangs over Trump post-presidency
President Trump faces an increasingly challenging financial future after he leaves the White House on Wednesday.
Trump is on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, most of it due within the next four years, and the legacy of his presidency may leave him with few options to pay it off.
In the wake of the Capitol riots, the New York City government and the PGA of America backed away from business arrangements with the Trump Organization, sapping future income from the debt-laden president. Three banks have announced they’re cutting ties with him — including Deutsche Bank, his biggest creditor — limiting his ability to refinance debt.
“It strikes me that the president is going through a collapse of his financial goodwill,” said John Pottow, a commercial law professor at the University of Michigan.
“There’s a bunch of corporate actors who are running away from him, like Deutsche Bank, so I think the last thing they want to do is to refinance him,” Pottow added.
If more banks deem Trump a toxic client, he could face daunting obstacles in navigating his debt.
Trump owes creditors at least $315 million, mainly through mortgages for Trump Organization hotels, resorts and golf courses, according to his 2020 financial disclosure. A Forbes analysis of Trump’s finances, however, found that Trump likely owes at least $1 billion to creditors, some of which he has personally guaranteed.
“Debt he’s personally guaranteed means that those lenders can get access to all the equity he owns in all of his other companies,” said J.W. Verret, a financial law professor at George Mason University and former House Republican aide who supported President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign.
“His personal wealth can take a hit,” Verret added.
Trump still holds considerable wealth through his business and claimed to have at least $1.4 billion in assets in last year’s financial disclosure, a self-reported document that is not audited by the federal government. Just $5.8 million of his holdings appear to be in cash or other assets Trump could quickly liquidate in a crunch, according to an analysis by The Hill.
A full picture of Trump’s financial health is impossible to assemble without the tax returns and other financial documents he has refused to release for years. Even so, experts say that based on what is known about his wealth and obligations, the president could face a barrage of lawsuits and collection attempts that could ultimately lead to personal bankruptcy.
“Absent the consent of the lenders, he has no option other than filing for bankruptcy,” Pottow said. “I mean, that’s just the way it works. If you owe someone money and you can’t pay it, then they can either forgive it or they can sue you.”
Trump, who anointed himself “the king of debt” in 2016, borrowed heavily to finance his empire of hotels, resorts, skyscrapers and golf courses. The president has argued that the amount of debt he owes is common for a man of his wealth and industry and has regularly used provisions of the tax code that help real estate developers write off losses.
While Trump was able to tap millions in borrowed money to expand his business and bolster his image as a cunning dealmaker, experts say he did so at severe personal risk. The New York Times reported in October that Trump personally guaranteed hundreds of millions lent to him by Deutsche Bank, using his own assets as collateral to purchase properties and refinance other debt with the scandal-ridden lender.
Deutsche Bank has several ways to collect on Trump’s debt, most of which matures in 2023, according to Trump’s financial disclosure. The bank could sue Trump if he fails to pay the debt by the time it matures, backtrack on its decision to cut ties with Trump and refinance, or sell the debt to another lender.
Professional Bank, which also recently cut ties with Trump, likely has similar flexibility with the at least $5 million in debt the president owes through a mortgage on a house he owns in Palm Beach, Fla., according to his financial disclosure.
That’s likely to put Trump in a financial bind.
“Oftentimes, borrowers will simply roll over the loan, which means they just swap the loan for a new loan,” said Phillip Braun, a finance professor at Northwestern University.
“Trump may have difficulty doing that because no one wants to provide him with new credit. So that’s a serious problem for him,” Braun added.
Trump has faced dire financial straits before and may still have ways to maneuver out of his looming debt troubles. Other creditors could purchase Trump’s debt at a steep discount and give him more time to pay it off.
“At the end of the day, they’re not going to light money on fire because they’re angry at Donald Trump,” Pottow said.
“If they have a reasonable restructuring proposal that’s going to get them paid off without undue risk, they will come to a deal,” Pottow added.
Trump could also start selling off properties or stakes he holds in real estate projects to cover his cash crunch, though Braun said the president may be more likely to turn to the courts as he has in the past.
While Trump’s financial liabilities may be manageable for now, potential legal trouble might make his debt insurmountable.
New York state prosecutors are ramping up their investigation into Trump’s business dealings, which could lead to criminal charges. The attorney general of Washington, D.C. has sued the Trump Organization over the use of funds from the president’s 2016 inaugural committee, and legal experts say Trump could face charges related to the Capitol riots.
Verret said that, along with steep legal fees, a criminal indictment could prompt Trump’s creditors to speed up the collection of his personally guaranteed debt under certain debt covenants.
“As this pressure grows, the pressure on the lenders to accelerate payments grows, which limits his ability to get loans from anyone else,” Verret said.
“I don’t know if he’s in a debt spiral yet, but I have to figure that’s where this is headed,” Verret added.
Oh there is more…
I HAVE SEEN ENOUGH, WAY, WAY, WAY TOO MUCH OF HIM…
Pardon for Steve Bannon…the worst.
Have at it…
Bye Bye Bully…your Bully Pulpit has been removed.
Just your ‘verbal attacks’ remain. And we’re turning the page on you.
A majority of Americans have said “Enough.”
Trump got ‘booted off the island’ so to speak but don’t tell him/us he doesn’t have power still.
Unfortunately, the R’s still give him they ring and they all kiss it.
Article compares T to a former Pope Benedict XIII who refused to concede, leave power and created a presence waaaay after he had left Rome.
“History never repeats itself; man always does,” said Voltaire, and Trump last Wednesday departed a rattled, armored Washington, pledging to “be back in some form.” Unwilling to acknowledge the legitimacy of his loss, he left town before the inauguration of Joe Biden—without having invited him to the White House, or congratulated him publicly, or even so much as mentioned his name. No longer roundly welcome in his native New York and all but chased from D.C., Trump jetted toward Florida, his habitual winter weekend getaway turned paramount political stomping grounds—the site of some of his biggest, most important wins; the bastion of a governor he helped get elected, two Republican senators and the House member who’s maybe his most fervent minion, plus a roster of media accessories and grassroots boosters; and America’s notoriously fact-flouting fantasy land, a hundred-year haven for hucksters and hustlers, outsiders, refugees and retirees, a sandy, sweaty Shangri-La of second chances, where Trump is now intent on concocting a papal-like court, a coterie of officeholders and wannabes, hangers-on and aides-de-camp, ring-kissers and the wholly beholden.
Benedict XIII, already in his 60s, was made a pope in 1394, by mainly French cardinals, principally because he suggested he would be willing to step aside in an effort to fix the fracture in the church. That professed selflessness subsided once he got a taste of the throne. King Charles VI of France sent envoys to Avignon to urge him to abdicate. Benedict’s retort: “I would rather be buried alive.” The king broke with him in favor of neutrality, and many cardinals and clergy followed suit, chastising Benedict for “creating and fostering schism.”
The niceties of diplomacy having failed, the king ordered mercenaries to lay siege to the papal palace. It lasted a year. Benedict, trapped, was forced to eat cats, rats and sparrows. He still didn’t surrender. And ultimately, and unexpectedly to the most elite and entrenched, a substantial share of the hoi polloi and rank-and-file sided with Benedict the victim rather than the royals and their hired hands. The king grudgingly restored his backing of Benedict.
“He is peculiarly suited for Florida,” said Mac Stipanovich, the semi-retired operative, lobbyist and all-around political fixture in the state, who shifted over these past few years from Republican to independent to registered Democrat largely on account of Trump and the ways he’s changed the GOP. Other equally or more pro-Trump states—he cited Texas or Alabama—“they’re just not,” he said, “culturally nouveau riche enough or morally louche enough to be a better fit for Donald Trump.”
“Florida is the Trumpiest state in the union,” added Joshua Karp, a Democratic consultant who’s worked there on House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, “and for a million reasons.”
Another way the state’s an apt fit for Trump: Florida exists in its present-day form because of a century of shady selling of sand and swamp—a prerequisite of the round-and-round boom-and-bust cycle, from the 1920s land frenzy on, not simply supply and demand and no income tax, but an anything-goes, devil-may-care air and a devoted indifference to history and climatic constraints. “Florida,” said Karp, “has been a state for a long time where the truth just doesn’t matter.”
But the most important reason Florida’s the ideal locale for the antipope of Mar-a-Lago is the politics. It’s “the center of America’s political universe,” said Florida Studies professor Gary Mormino.
And it’s filled with Trump fiefs.
In Tallahassee is Ron DeSantis—governor, some contend, thanks to Trump tweets. Deeper into the Panhandle is perhaps the most pro-Trump bulldog in Congress in Matt Gaetz. Also on Capitol Hill are two GOP senators—Rick Scott and Marco Rubio—who both have had to navigate Trump-entangled terrain in Washington and back home and (in the case of Rubio) the bruising ’16 campaign trail as well. The state’s vast, rural, hard-up inland areas as well as pockets of older, wealthier, overwhelmingly white conservatives—both spots are stocked with Trump supporters, broadly representative of the two main poles of his coalition. And South Florida, especially Miami-Dade County, which can feel more than anything like the Caribbean, boasts the staunchest bloc of Trump’s nonwhite support. Now it’s home, too, to his favorite child in Ivanka—rumored to be considering a primary challenge next year for Rubio’s Senate seat—and her husband, the former White House wingman Jared Kushner, and their family. Trump won Florida in 2016. He won it by even more in 2020—the 3.3-point margin a landslide by its usual razor-thin swing-state standards.
What the post-mortem polling shows about how Trump lost the election…
Former President Donald Trump has blamed the election results on unfounded claims of fraud and malfeasance. But at the top levels of his campaign, a detailed autopsy report that circulated among his political aides paints a far different — and more critical — portrait of what led to his defeat.
The post-mortem, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, says the former president suffered from voter perception that he wasn’t honest or trustworthy and that he was crushed by disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. And while Trump spread baseless accusations of ballot-stuffing in heavily Black cities, the report notes that he was done in by hemorrhaging support from white voters.
The 27-page report, which was written by Trump chief pollster Tony Fabrizio, shows how Trump advisers were privately reckoning with his loss even as the former president and many of his supporters engaged in a conspiracy theory-fueled effort to overturn the election. The autopsy was completed in December 2020 and distributed to Trump’s top political advisers just before President Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
It is unclear if Trump has seen the report.
The findings are based on an analysis of exit polling in 10 states. Five of them — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — are states that Trump lost after winning them in 2016. The other five — Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas — are states that Trump won in both elections.
The report zeroes in on an array of demographics where Trump suffered decisive reversals in 2020, including among white seniors, the same group that helped to propel him to the White House. The autopsy says that Trump saw the “greatest erosion with white voters, particularly white men,” and that he “lost ground with almost every age group.” In the five states that flipped to Biden, Trump’s biggest drop-off was among voters aged 18-29 and 65 and older.
Suburbanites — who bolted from Trump after 2016 — also played a major role. The report says that the former president suffered a “double-digit erosion” with “White College educated voters across the board.”
The picture of the election presented in the report is widely shared by political professionals in both parties, if not by Trump and his legions of his supporters. Trump never offered a concession to Biden, and up until his final days in office, he clung to the debunked idea that the election had been stolen.
Fabrizio declined to comment on the post-mortem. A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s personal behavior, the autopsy makes clear, contributed to his defeat. “Biden had a clear edge over POTUS on being seen as honest & trustworthy,” Fabrizio writes.
Trump’s response to the pandemic was also critical. The autopsy says that coronavirus registered as the top issue among voters, and that Biden won those voters by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. A majority registered disapproval of Trump’s handling of the virus.
Most voters said they prioritized battling the coronavirus over reopening the economy, even as the president put a firm emphasis on the latter. And roughly 75 percent of voters — most of whom favored Biden — said they favored public mask-wearing mandates.
The report also indirectly raises questions about the reelection campaign’s decision to pause advertising on TV over the summer and save resources until the fall. According to the findings, nearly 9-in-10 voters had made up their minds about whom to support by the final month of the race.
Fabrizio isn’t the only Trump adviser who has presented a post-mortem since Nov. 3. John McLaughlin, another Trump pollster, published a report on the conservative Newsmax website the week after the election.
Meanwhile, advisers to former Vice President Mike Pence brought in multiple pollsters to brief him on their conclusions after the election, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Among the takeaways was that Trump was gaining during the final weeks of the race and that his rallies had helped propel Republicans running in House and Senate races. But the pollsters also made clear that while there was substantial support for Trump’s policies, there was widespread exhaustion with the president.
Within Trump’s inner circle, Fabrizio had long espoused the belief that Trump needed to prioritize the pandemic in order to win reelection. Last summer, he penned a 79-page memo arguing that Trump needed to focus first on dealing with the pandemic rather than reopening the economy and recommending, among other things, that he should have been encouraging people to wear masks rather than mocking the practice.
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