On the menu today: Donald Trump has left the White House for the last time as president. His last public address to a large live audience turned out to be the “Save America Rally.” He leaves the nation’s capital facing an impeachment trial in the Senate, having pardoned his old crony Steve Bannon, and thinking of starting his own political party. Joe Biden will take office at noon today, and the cabinet nomination fights will start quickly.
President Donald Trump’s last public address to a large audience was the “Save America Rally,” right before the Capitol Hill riot. Since then, he’s made a few short videotaped remarks, a couple of quick remarks before boarding his helicopter, and yesterday’s pre-taped farewell address, delivered and recorded from within the White House.
With his Twitter account shut down, the president largely stopped speaking to the public entirely. He still had many other metaphorical megaphones, but he chose not to use them. He could walk out to the podium at the White House and say whatever he liked. He could grant an interview with anyone in the news world he likes — any television program, any radio program. Up until today, he could stream anything he liked at Whitehouse.gov. He could have announced a primetime Oval Office address, although the networks may not carry it live.
Or maybe Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, or anybody else who’s still on duty wanted to keep the president away from cameras. The descriptions of him that are leaking out suggest Trump is still raging furiously about the disloyalty of Republicans, even Kevin McCarthy, for daring to criticize him at all even while opposing his impeachment. The reports of Trump meeting with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and Lindell urging the president to invoke the Insurrection Act, are like something out of an LSD trip. Maybe Trump couldn’t have been in front of television cameras for a long stretch in the past two weeks lest he give the push to invoke the 25th Amendment a burst of new momentum.