John Quincy Adams was not particularly optimistic when, after losing reelection, he left the White House in 1829. “There is nothing more pathetic in life than a former president”, said then the sixth president of the United States. To his own surprise, he enjoyed a second, long, and very full political life as a congressman.
There is life, therefore, after the White House, but each one finds it in their own way. George Washington opened a whiskey distillery. Thomas Jefferson founded a university. Many have written his memoirs, including Barack Obama, who has reinvented himself as a film producer and just released a podcast with Bruce Springsteen. Bill Clinton got rich off his talks. George W. Bush got the paint. To Franklin Pierce, for alcohol (“What can a former president do besides drink?” Asked the 14th US president, whose addiction to alcohol preceded his departure from the Oval Office).
Donald Trump is a teetotaler. Famous, very famous, before reaching the White House, he continues to act as the celebrity that he is, and since he left power, in addition to sending press releases as belligerent as his old tweets, he often drops in social events held in Mar-a-Lago, its golf club in Palm Beach (Florida).
Former President Donald Trump during a speech in Florida. Photo DPA
Dressed in an elegant tux and slimmer than when he was president, a couple of weeks ago Trump took the microphone to congratulate a wedding couple. As can be seen in a video published by TMZ, he took the opportunity to release a litany of complaints about Joe Biden and the never proven fraud in the November elections, an issue that can hardly be described as nuptial.
“I get all those news alerts about the border, China, Iran … What do you think about Iran?” He asked the guests. “And China, the same. They never treated us like that, right? ”He commented to go on to talk about the situation at the border. “Do they miss me?”Trump asked the audience, who responded with cheers and applause. Before congratulating the couple, he insisted that he got “75 million votes”, more than anyone “ever” (actually, it was 74.2 million and Biden got 81.2 million).
The newlyweds were John and Megan Arrigo, the son of a wealthy Republican donor. The family is a client of the luxurious club, known as Mar-a-Lago after the name of their main mansion, the place where Donald and Melania Trump have fixed his residence. Videos posted on social media by his protagonists in recent weeks suggest that the former president often appears by surprise in their halls and gardens to take photos with his clients. Recently he has been seen at a cocktail party, a car show, a model show, a marriage bond …
The former first family in the United States has barely moved from Mar-a-Lago since it arrived (there is only one brief trip to New York). But that does not mean that they have lost contact with their supporters nor that they are not willing to attend the social occasions in which they are required. His new website (45office.com) includes different options: send them messages, request a personal greeting “for a special occasion” or send “invitations” to him or his wife.
“Will there be press present?”, “Will any notable person attend?” They ask those interested in having them as guests. Unlike other former presidents or celebrities who turn to communication agencies to manage their public agenda, Trump seems to want to take the reins himself, just as he did in New York and in the White House.
His golf club in Florida during his presidency became the scene of a multitude of political acts and intrigues by conservative American circles, a situation that has dragged on beyond his presence in the White House as the Republican Party ponders its future. “Mar-a-Lago and Palm Beach are the center of the Republican universe right now,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller told The Washington Post . “All Republican roads lead to Mar-a-Lago.”
In recent weeks, they have pilgrimage there from the leader of the Republican minority in the Lower House, Kevin McCarthy, to his former press secretary and candidate for governor of Arkansas or representatives of the most extreme wing of the party, such as Madison Cawthorn or Marjorie Greene , seeking your support with a view to the 2022 legislative elections. The photo published by his former adviser on immigration issues, Stephen Miller, has made it possible to see for the first time his new office in Mar-a-Lago (you can see, for example, a photo of Air Force One, another of Mount Rushmore, a statue of himself, a Coca-Cola half hidden days after calling for a boycott against the company …).
Trump has no Chinese vase vocation. During the meeting of big conservative donors held last week at his club, the former president referred to Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell as a “stupid son of a bitch.” Comments like this do a disservice to those who advocate not choosing between Trumpism and the traditional wing of the party to hold it together without scaring off moderate voters.
Trump disagrees. “I tell you with confidence that in 2022 we will recover the House of Representatives and the Senate, and in 2024 there will be a Republican candidate who will win the White House,” he assured donors. That day he did not suggest that he can stand for election again. There are not many cases, but some of his predecessors did well. Grover Cleveland, for example, was twice president in the late 1800s with a four-year layoff. It was his formula to overcome that “pathetic” life that Adams said awaited former presidents.
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