Consider this: Donald Trump may not want to remain president of the United States, and he privately hopes impeachment removes him from office before the 2020 election hands him the one thing he cannot abide: A loss.
Losing is alien to Trump’s massive ego. Even when he loses, he claims a win.
But removal from office by Congress give him a platform upon which he can start a new, Trump-praising cable TV news service, and use it to build more power as a dissident.
Impossible? Maybe not.
Nancy Gibbs, director of the Shorenstein Center on Media and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, suggests just such a scenario.
What if the president wants out? There’s much about the job he never liked, which is one reason he spends so much time watching TV rather than actually doing it. Under normal circumstances, it involves any number of things he once avoided; shaking hands with germy people, being talked at by experts who know more than he, sitting still for extended periods, being criticized no matter what he does, empathizing — all important parts of the job. He has gone to considerable lengths to reshape the role, fired the experts, cleared his schedule, kept up his golf game … but still. The campaigning was fun, but the best evidence of how little he likes presiding is how seldom he’s actually done it.
Trump escapes the frustration of failing to accomplish his agenda by not having ever had one, beyond his continued exaltation. He could count this moment as a high point: record-low unemployment, still soaring stock markets, judicial transformation. It’s easy to imagine it’s all downhill — and fast — from here. His confidence in his supreme wisdom leads him to make even reckless decisions, such as his abandonment of America’s trust with its Kurdish partners, with no evidence of regret or remorse other than disliking the criticism for doing it. But ever since the Ukraine scandal erupted, his rage-tweeting and Wagnerian self-pity suggest that the incoming fire for his misconduct, occasionally even from his defenders and enablers, has made these days even less fun than usual.
Gibbs, a former managing editor at Time magazine, says we should look for signs that Trump want out. If we see Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump leave Washington and return to Manhattan would be a big sign. Trump renaming Reagan National Airport after himself is another (which fits into Trump’s massive ego and one to piss off the Republicans who still kowtow to him) is another.
When you think about it, with a choice of bad options, impeachment doesn’t look so bad, and gets you home to your gilded tower sooner. Assuming, that is, that you don’t think you can just burn the Constitution to the ground and be the last one standing.
Oh, we can dream.
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