Donald Trump started his time as an utterly unprecedented former president before he was even technically a former president.
On the morning of his last day in office, in the hours before the inauguration of Joe Biden, Trump left the White House and Washington, becoming the first president in 152 years to shun the swearing in of his successor, opting instead at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for a militaristic send-off that included a 21-gun salute and a poke-in-the-eye playing of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” He made it clear in his remarks to a few hundred people from a stage on the wind-whipped tarmac that this was no goodbye for good.
“We will be back,” he promised, “in some form.”
It’s been a year now.
And in these past 365 days, in ways that were totally predictable and in ways that were also absolutely unforeseeable, and in ways that have run the gamut from the gravely serious to the thoroughly absurd, a one-term, twice-impeached president who two weeks before the end of his tenure instigated a deadly insurrection at the citadel of American democracy has obliterated the long-agreed-upon parameters of the post-presidency just as he did with the presidency itself.
Hardening the divide in the country between those who are for him and those who are not, he demanded fealty and vowed revenge, raised and hoarded money, targeted people who want to hold him to account and touted those who don’t or won’t. He reasserted a constrictor’s grip on the GOP — literally attempting to engineer the face of the party by publicly picking candidates in scores of races, from swing-state senators to state ag commissioners, a New York borough president, a smaller-city mayor and a county judge. He hasn’t written a standard memoir, but he has spent nearly every day rewriting the history of his administration, perpetuating the destabilizing fiction that he won when he lost and pile-driving a path through this year’s midterms to the possibility of a comeback run in 2024.
Trump, so unabashedly unlike any other former president, simply has refused to let people not have to think about him, and what he’s doing, and what he’s saying, and what it might mean. To reengage with the reams of news coverage of Trump from the course of the last 12 months, to read and reread his statements in chronological order, is to get a visceral, dizzying reminder of the persistence, of the manic relentlessness with which he has done this and is doing it. Biden, the man who beat him, has ushered through Congress trillions of dollars of legislation, and might manage to persuade lawmakers to spend trillions more, no small record of accomplishment in spite of setbacks and stalemates in a historically challenging time. And yet there remains a sense that it is not the current but the former (and the next?) occupant of the Oval Office who is somehow the one who is imposing his will, still, on the body politic and the national discourse.
“Even Andrew Jackson in 1825, when he lost under shady circumstances in the House, did not pretend he was actually president,” Jen Mercieca, a professor of political rhetoric and the author of a book about “the rhetorical genius” of Trump, told me. “Trump,” she said, “is a genius at making everything about him. He polarized our politics around him. That was the strategy in 2016 and it worked.”
And still is.
“In the last hundred years,” said Mark Updegrove, a presidential historian whose books include one specifically on former presidents called Second Acts, “there is nobody more politically consequential as a former president than Donald Trump.”
For a few days after he left Washington he said nothing. Publicly.
He let linger in the air an angry threat to start a third party.
He backed for state Republican chair in Arizona loyalist Kelli Ward, who had campaigned on Trump’s lies of a “stolen” election. It was the first of an ongoing litany of Trump’s endorsements as a former president — fueled by his monomaniacal insistence that he won an election that he lost, fixated on the five most important states that he lost that made him lose, furious at anybody who didn’t subvert democracy by overturning those results.
He then, though, on his first post-White House weekend, turned one threat into another, having a top political aide talk privately to Republican senators to make sure they knew the defeated and disgraced former president was not going to start a third party but also was not going to step back, was not going to fade away — that he was in fact intent on continuing to be a heavy and consistent presence in the GOP, and that they, in other words, should take that into account when weighing whether to convict or acquit in his upcoming impeachment trial.
He endorsed in her bid for governor of Arkansas Sarah Huckabee Sanders, one of his White House press secretaries, “a warrior who will always fight … and do what is right, not what is politically correct.”
He commissioned through his newly created Save America PAC a poll to gauge the extent of the backlash at home against Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the most prominent and most vocal of the 10 House Republicans who had voted for his impeachment.
He remained for Republican donors a fundraising colossus.
He had Kevin McCarthy kiss his ring and made sure people knew it. Weeks after the House GOP leader stated that Trump bore some responsibility for the events of Jan. 6 and even entertained the notion of a censure, Trump permitted the man he once called “my Kevin” to come to Mar-a-Lago to essentially say sorry. The meeting and the subsequent statement from Save America made it plain that any opening that Republicans might have seized to leave Trump in their wake was closed. “President Trump’s popularity has never been stronger than it is today,” said the statement, “and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time.”
He quit the Screen Actors Guild after the union said he faced a disciplinary hearing for his role in Jan. 6 and “reckless campaign of misinformation.”
“While I’m not familiar with your work, I’m very proud of my work on movies such as Home Alone 2, Zoolander and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; and television shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saturday Night Live, and of course, one of the most successful shows in television history, The Apprentice — to name just a few!” Trump responded.
“As such, this letter is to inform you of my immediate resignation,” he concluded.
“You have done nothing for me.”
He rejected a request from House Democrats to testify at his second impeachment trial. “Trump,” said Jason Miller, his spokesperson at the time, “will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding.”
He waited for the trial to be over. “Who’s to say it won’t happen again?” said Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), one of the nine impeachment managers making the case. “He can do this again,” said another, “Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). Most voters thought he should’ve been convicted (and thus barred from running for office again). Most Republicans did not. “They are about to make him a martyr,” said Brad Parscale, his former campaign manager. And “it’s going to help expose more bad apples that he can primary if any senators vote to convict,” added a former campaign official.
He was acquitted. Only seven Republican senators voted to convict — 10 shy of the number needed to ban him permanently from public office. The RNC fundraised on the result: “The biggest political circus of ALL TIME is finally over and we want to send a message that the Republican Party is STRONGER THAN EVER BEFORE.” Trump was ready. “I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together,” he said in a statement. “There has never been anything like it!”
He hosted at Mar-a-Lago the No. 2 Republican in the House — Steve Scalise (R.-La.).
He hosted at Mar-a-Lago Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), barely more than a month after Graham had said he had had it with Trump, to talk about the future of the Republican Party.
He launched what would become a yearlong barrage of criticism of Mitch McConnell, blasting in a more-than-600-word statement the most powerful Republican in the Senate, blaming him for the two lost Senate seats in Georgia (when most everybody blamed Trump himself), taking credit for his reelection (when McConnell certainly would’ve won and perhaps by more than he did without Trump on the ticket) and calling him a bad leader and worse. “Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack,” Trump said in a statement released in an email from his Save America PAC, a conduit he was turning into sort of his new Twitter feed, “and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First …”
He made his first endorsement of a primary challenger to one of the 10 GOP House members who crossed him on impeachment — former and favored aide Max Miller against incumbent Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio).
He identified all his enemies by name. On the last day of February at CPAC in Orlando, in his first speech as an ex- in which he teased a comeback of a presidential run in 2024, Trump issued what amounted to a call-to-arms for 2021 and 2022 against the seven Senate Republicans and the 10 House Republicans who voted for his impeachment.
“Grandstanders like Mitt Romney, little Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Toomey. And in the House, Tom Rice, South Carolina, Adam Kinzinger, Dan Newhouse, Anthony Gonzalez — that’s another beauty — Fred Upton, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Peter Meijer, John Katko, David Valadao — and, of course, the warmonger, a person that loves seeing our troops fighting: Liz Cheney,” he said in what sounded like the reading of a hit list.
“Get rid of them all,” he said.
He raked in $3.5 million that day — the highest grossing day, it turned out, of any Republican or Republican political committee in the whole of the first half of 2021.
He did not join four fellow former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — in public service announcements advocating for the Covid vaccines.
He recommended the vaccine nonetheless. “And I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” he told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo — stopping short, though, of supporting any mandates.
He lashed out at two of the more known faces of public health guidance — Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci — accusing them of being “self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations, which I fortunately almost always overturned.”
He picked fights with pillars of Republican politics. He went after Karl Rove. “A pompous fool,” he called him.
He went after the Wall Street Journal editorial board.
He went after Lisa Murkowski, who had voted to convict him. “She represents her state badly and her country even worse,” he said in a statement to POLITICO. “I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator.”
He sent cease-and-desist letters to the three largest fundraising operations for the Republican Party — the RNC, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee — for using his name and his likeness in money-making appeals. “No more money for RINOS,” he said in a statement. “Send your donation to Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com.” “I fully support the Republican Party and important GOP Committees, but I do not support RINOs and fools,” he said in a walk-back that wasn’t really a walk-back.
He downplayed the severity of Jan. 6. “It was zero threat,” he told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “Look, they went in — they shouldn’t have done it — some of them went in, and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know? They had great relationships. A lot of people were waved in, and then they walked in, and they walked out.”
He ramped up his lying about how the 2020 election was “Illegitimate” and “Rigged,” prompting an array of GOP-led, state-level efforts to make it harder to vote. “All predicated on the ‘big lie,’ the idea that Trump won the election, that there was widespread voter fraud,” Nsé Ufot of the New Georgia Project told POLITICO.
He urged Herschel Walker to run in Georgia for the U.S. Senate. “Run Herschel, run!” he said.
He endorsed the like-minded David Shafer for Georgia GOP chair. “No one in Georgia fought harder for me than David!” he said.
He endorsed Rep. Jody Hice in his bid in a Republican primary to unseat Brad Raffensperger — the Georgia secretary of state who stood up to Trump in his effort to turn his 2020 loss in Georgia into a win. “He’s toast,” Georgia-based Republican strategist Jay Williams told POLITICO.
He summoned into a backroom at Mar-a-Lago four of the candidates in that Ohio Senate primary for a 15-minute “backbiting” meeting that some likened to “The Apprentice” and one person familiar compared to “The Hunger Games,” the contenders desperately vying for his endorsement. “Mr. President,” Josh Mandel said, according to my colleague Alex Isenstadt’s reporting, “I only know two ways to do things: either not at all or balls to the wall. I hired a bunch of killers on my team. I’m a killer, and we’re going to win the primary and then the general.”
He crashed a wedding at Mar-a-Lago.
He started sitting for nearly two dozen interviews for books by a spate of mainstream reporters, adding to the more than a thousand titles that have been published about Trump since he was elected president. “Donald doesn’t believe in the concept of ‘no comment,’” former senior White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman told POLITICO. “So it’s not surprising to me that every one of these book interviews he’s going to sit through and think he has the power to manipulate the authors and try to influence them.”
He hovered over the nascent 2024 GOP presidential primary. “He’s got them in a box,” said former South Carolina GOP Chair Matt Moore.
He celebrated Easter. “Happy Easter to ALL,” he said, “including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election, and want to destroy our Country!”
He called for boycotts. A lot of them. In a response to the response of corporate behemoths to Georgia’s new voting restrictions — including Major League Baseball’s decision to pull its All-Star Game from Atlanta — Trump decried “CANCEL CULTURE.” “Boycott Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, and Merck,” he said. “Don’t go back to their products until they relent. We can play the game better than them. They didn’t even get approval of State Legislatures, which is mandated under the U.S. Constitution. They rigged and stole our 2020 Presidential Election, which we won by a landslide, and then, on top of that, boycott and scare companies into submission. Never submit, never give up! The Radical Left will destroy our Country if we let them. We will not become a Socialist Nation. Happy Easter!”
He endorsed Mo Brooks in Alabama.
He endorsed Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.
He endorsed Rand Paul in Kentucky.
He endorsed Marco Rubio in Florida.
He made an endorsement for the chair of the Wyoming Republican Party just because he censured Liz Cheney.
He issued a statement about the strength of his endorsements from his “Highly Respected” pollster, John McLaughlin: “President Trump is the strongest endorsement I have ever witnessed in politics.”
He called Mitch McConnell a “stone-cold loser” and a “dumb son of a bitch.” At the RNC spring donor meeting. At Mar-a-Lago.
He got an award from NRSC head Rick Scott — one that hadn’t existed before — the “Champion for Freedom.” He accepted the silver bowl while wearing a golf shirt. Scott said he deserved it because “he worked hard.”
He reopened his online merchandise store — which had been dormant since Shopify shut it down over Trump’s role in triggering the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — a quiet but important mile marker in his mounting efforts to solidify his influence on the elections of 2022 and potentially 2024. The “ONLY place to get your OFFICIAL Trump Merchandise,” said texts sent to the phones of his supporters. Save America, said a Trump adviser, was sitting on $85 million.
He gave his first on-camera interview as a former president — to Sean Hannity. “You’re going to see something that will start to take place in ’22,” he said, “and will culminate in ’24.”
He marked in late April his first 100 days out of office. “Let me tell you something,” a former senior administration official who recently had met with Trump in his office above the ballroom at Mar-a-Lago told me at the time. “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
He co-opted the language used to describe his fiction of a “stolen election” — the same way he did in early 2017 with “fake news.” “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE,” he said. This set off an escalation with Liz Cheney. “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system,” Cheney wrote on Twitter less than an hour later.
Trump called her “a warmongering fool.”
He endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) — “COMPLETE and TOTAL” — to take Cheney’s place as GOP conference chair.
He got the (continued) boot from Facebook, keeping him banned from his chosen social media megaphone of Twitter as well as Facebook and YouTube. Former House Speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich suggested it was making Trump a Big Tech “martyr.”
Trump started a blog. Hardly anybody read it.
He shifted his operations from his resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey — and kept raising money. He reminded donors to donate mainly to him: “Donate your money far more wisely at DonaldJTrump.com. “There was this pregnant pause around the impeachment and the January 6 riot that was ‘Trump was toxic and Trump doesn’t want us to use his name.’ But we’ve now reverted back to the past five years, where Trump is the biggest name in Republican politics. He’s the best name at bringing in money, and we need to lean into that,” GOP fundraiser Dan Eberhart told POLITICO. The party “has abandoned this idea of a post-Trump world.”
He endorsed Glenn Youngkin for governor of Virginia.
He endorsed Dan Patrick for lieutenant governor of Texas.
He endorsed Wilton Simpson for agriculture commissioner of Florida.
He criticized “Miles Taylor and his fellow RINO losers like Tom Ridge, Christine Todd Whitman, and Crazy Barbara Comstock” who “voted for Biden.”
He celebrated Cheney’s ouster as GOP conference chair, calling her “a bitter, horrible human being.”
He clamored for credit for the vaccines for Covid that “we pushed and developed in record time,” he said. “Just a mention please!”
He took credit for the improving pandemic situation. “New United States COVID cases, because of the record-breaking development of the vaccine and its early purchase and distribution by the Trump Administration has hit its lowest level in more than one year, and falling fast,” he said.
He released a statement about the “audit” of the votes in Arizona that was so wholly untrue Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer called it “unhinged.”
He claimed he was a victim. Responding to news that the New York attorney general was assisting the Manhattan district attorney in a criminal investigation into the affairs of the Trump Organization, he recycled by now familiar rhetoric. The investigation was “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States. Working in conjunction with Washington, these Democrats want to silence and cancel millions of voters because they don’t want ‘Trump’ to run again,” he said in one of his longest statements to date. “No President has been treated the way I have.”
He marked Memorial Day. “I’m sorry to say the gasoline prices that you will be confronted with are far higher than they were just a short number of months ago where we had gasoline under $2 a gallon. Remember as you’re watching the meter tick, and your dollars pile up, how great of a job Donald Trump did as President,” he said. “Shame, shame, shame. Other than that, have a great Memorial Day Weekend!”
He closed down his blog after less than a month.
He called Doug Ducey, the governor of Arizona, a RINO.
He called Mitch McConnell a RINO.
He called Bill Barr, his own attorney general, a RINO.
He made an endorsement for Staten Island borough president.
He gave his first speech since CPAC in late February in Orlando, at the North Carolina GOP convention in Greenville, speaking for 85 minutes in a preview of a summer return to the kinds of rallies he’s used for years to stoke his political rise and rule. “I’m not the one trying to undermine democracy,” he said. “I’m the one trying to save it.” He got a standing ovation.
He endorsed a primary challenger to Lisa Murkowski.
He attacked state senators in Pennsylvania who weren’t going along with his lies and his calls for an audit of the vote in 2020. “Are they stupid, corrupt, or naïve?” he said.
He tried to intimidate two state senators in Michigan by sharing the phone numbers to their offices. “Call those two Senators now and get them to do the right thing, or vote them the hell out of office!” he said.
He celebrated Father’s Day. “Happy Father’s Day to all, including the Radical Left, RINOs, and other Losers of the world.”
He went to Ohio to have his first post-presidency rally, reasserted his endorsement of Max Miller and reiterated his thirst for revenge against Anthony Gonzalez.
“Do you miss me?” he said.
“They miss me,” he said.
He made a trip to the border in Texas. “Biden is destroying our country,” he said, contrasting the current president’s border policies with his own. “We did a hell of a job,” he added.
He debuted at 41st of 45 on C-SPAN’s presidential rankings. In the category of administrative skills, and in the category of moral authority, too, he ranked last.
He encouraged a crowd in Sarasota, Florida, over the weekend of the Fourth of July to purge the Republican Party of the supposed traitors within. “Seeing the record crowds of over 45,000 people in Ohio and Florida, waiting for days, standing in the pouring rain, they come from near and far,” he said in a statement. “Their arms are outstretched, they cry over the Rigged Election — and the RINOs have no idea what this movement is all about. In fact, they are perhaps our biggest problem. We will never save our Country or be great again unless Republicans get TOUGH and get SMART!”
He called Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) a RINO.
He called an Arizona state senator a RINO.
He called the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors RINOs.
He called Mitch McConnell an “Old Crow.”
He called Nancy Pelosi “a known nut job.”
He called Jan. 6 insurrectionists “peaceful people.”
He worked to turn Ashli Babbitt into a martyr — a key part of “his effort,” Aaron Rupar of Vox pointed out, “to transform the supporters of his who ransacked the Capitol from perpetrators to victims.”
He attacked the House committee investigating the insurrection. “These Democrats,” he said, “only have one tired trick — political theater.”
He attacked authors of “the ridiculous number of books being written about my very successful Administration.”
He attacked Senate Republicans for trying to pass an infrastructure bill. “Who,” he said, “are these RINO Republicans that are so dedicated to giving the Radical Left Democrats a big and beautiful win on Infrastructure?”
He attacked the man who had been his top general by denying that he had considered a coup after he had lost the November election.
He inadvertently owned himself. “Many say I am the greatest star-maker of all time,” he said. “But some of the stars I produced are actually made of garbage.”
He blamed Biden for not enough people getting the vaccine. “He’s way behind schedule,” he said, “and people are refusing to take the Vaccine because they don’t trust his Administration, they don’t trust the Election results, and they certainly don’t trust the Fake news, which is refusing to tell the Truth.”
He went after baseball’s Cleveland Indians for becoming the Cleveland Guardians. “Such a disgrace,” he said, “and I guarantee that the people who are most angry about it are the many Indians of our Country.”
He went after the United States women’s soccer team for its performance at the Olympics. “If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze. Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has,” he said. “They should replace the wokesters with Patriots and start winning again.”
He went to an Ultimate Fighting Championship match in Las Vegas, eliciting some boos but mostly cheers.
He kept lying. “I only wish,” he said at a rally in Arizona, “that my friend Mike Pence had that additional courage to send the results back to the legislatures.”
He kept raising money to the tune of more than $100 million in his coffers — “Donate to Save America at Donald J.Trump.com!” — and spending none of it on audits and GOP candidates.
He gloated when a congressional candidate he endorsed in a special election in Ohio won. “Great Republican win for Mike Carey. Big numbers!” he said in a statement. “One of the biggest stories in the Lamestream Media yesterday was the very important Congressional race in Ohio and whether or not Trump-backed candidate, Mike Carey, would lose,” he said in another statement. “The biggest election in a long time,” he said in another statement.
And he gloated after a congressional candidate he endorsed in a special election in Texas … lost. “I won,” he said a week after the fact, “because we ended up with a great Republican candidate.”
He praised the governor of Missouri for pardoning the couple in St. Louis who achieved right-wing “cancel-culture” quasi-fame by pointing guns at marching Black Lives Matter protesters.
He hired two operatives from Iowa through his Save America PAC, firing up the speculation about 2024. “I can’t reveal it yet. But I absolutely know my answer,” he said on Fox News when asked about the prospect of a run.
He got booed at a rally in Alabama for recommending the vaccine.
He panned the military pullout from Afghanistan that he had vowed he would do himself. “Tragic mess in Afghanistan … DO YOU MISS ME YET?” he said. “Never would have happened if I were President!” he said.
He endorsed people who believed his lies about the election, and he endorsed people who were running against people who didn’t believe his lies. Kristina Karamo for secretary of state and Matthew DePerno for attorney general in Michigan, Mark Finchem for secretary of state and Kari Lake for governor in Arizona. He endorsed Joe Kent running against Jamie Herrera Beutler in Washington. He endorsed Steve Carra running against Fred Upton in Michigan. He endorsed Harriet Hageman running against Liz Cheney in Wyoming — with a campaign chock-full of Trump advisers and aides. He endorsed Sean Parnell for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. He endorsed Herschel Walker in Georgia.
He railed about the removal of the statue in Richmond of Robert E. Lee.
He preemptively called the California recall election “probably rigged.”
On Sept. 11, he did not join three other former presidents at the National 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan. He did not speak at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, like a fourth former president, George W. Bush, who cited the “unity of America” in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 20 years back and lamented the lack of that now. “A malign force,” Bush said, “seems at work in our common life that turns every disagreement into an argument, and every argument into a clash of cultures. So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear and resentment.”
“Trump appeared via taped video at a conference at the Unification Church, better known as the ‘Moonies cult,’ and made a visit to a fire and police station in New York, where he began his opening remarks by criticizing Joe Biden for ‘fleeing’ Afghanistan, repeating the lie that the election was ‘rigged,’ and suggesting very strongly that he will run for president in 2024,” as my colleague Ruby Cramer wrote. “By nightfall, he was at a South Florida casino delivering several hours of commentary on four boxing matches for Triller Fight Club in an ‘alternate telecast’ available for $49.99” on pay-per-view.
He heard Bush. “Bush,” Trump said, “led a failed and uninspired presidency. He shouldn’t be lecturing anybody.”
He called Mark Milley a “Dumbass.”
He relished the news that Anthony Gonzalez was not going to run for reelection — the first of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment to bow out. Gonzalez in making his announcement had called Trump “a cancer for the country.”
“RINO Congressman Anthony Gonzalez, who has poorly represented his district in the Great State of Ohio, has decided to quit after enduring a tremendous loss of popularity, of which he had little, since his ill-informed and otherwise very stupid impeachment vote against the sitting President of the United States, me,” Trump said.
“1 down, 9 to go!” he added.
He sued his niece and the reporters she helped.
He sued Twitter to try to get his account turned back on.
He doubled down on the lie that he had won even after an audit in Arizona confirmed that he lost. “The Fake News is lying about the Arizona audit report!” he said in a statement. “The Audit was a big win for democracy and a big win for us. Shows how corrupt the Election was … a bigger Scam even than anticipated!” he said in another. “However, the Fake News Media is already trying to ‘call it’ again for Biden before actually looking at the facts — just like they did in November! The audit has uncovered significant and undeniable evidence of FRAUD! Until we know how and why this happened, our Elections will never be secure,” he said in another. A majority of Republicans believed it.
He wrote a letter to the Republican governor of Texas — demanding a “Forensic Audit of the 2020 Election” in a state that he won.
He forgave Chuck Grassley.
“The reality is, he lost,” the Republican senator from Iowa had said in February in his explanation of his vote for acquittal at the end of Trump’s second impeachment trial.
Now, though, at a rally in Des Moines, he let Grassley join him on the stage — to accept his endorsement.
“If I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart,” Grassley said.
He all but told Republicans not to vote in 2022 and 2024 if the party didn’t “solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020.”
He told former aides to ignore subpoenas from the House committee investigating Jan. 6.
He sued the committee to try to block the release of the records from his White House related to the Capitol attack.
He announced the launch of his own social media platform — funded by hundreds of millions of dollars of other people’s money — called “TRUTH.”
He aimed a brushback pitch at a Florida rival. Even if Ron DeSantis ran for president in 2024, Trump said, “I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else.”
He did the controversial “tomahawk chop” at a World Series game in Atlanta.
He celebrated the announcement of the retirement from Congress of Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — another of the 10 Republicans in the House who had voted for impeachment. “2 down, 8 to go!” he said. He blasted in an email with a link to an article from The Hill: “Kinzinger retirement underscores Trump dominance over GOP.”
He took credit for GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia when it was his relative absence from the race that many said led independents to vote for the Republican. “I would like to thank my BASE for coming out in force and voting for Glenn Youngkin,” he said.
He endorsed a challenger against Peter Meijer of Michigan — another one of the 10 House Republicans who voted for his impeachment. And he endorsed a raft of more people for the state legislature and other down-ballot races in Michigan who were in line with him on “voter fraud,” “Election Integrity,” “stop the steal” and “the theft of the 2020 Presidential Election” — Rachelle Smit, Mike Detmer, Mick Bricker, Kevin Rathbun, Jon Rocha, Jacky Eubanks, Angela Rigas and Mike Hoadley. Ditto in Arizona.
He blamed his own son for getting him involved with Sean Parnell after the scandal-ridden Pennsylvania Senate candidate suspended his campaign.
He hosted Kyle Rittenhouse at Mar-a-Lago after the teenager was acquitted of shooting to death two men during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “Congratulations,” he said, “for being found INNOCENT.”
Through his super PAC — “Make America Great Again, Again!” — he polled for his looming 2024 comeback run, the results of which showed him leading Biden in all five states he lost in 2020 — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. “Trump,” a Trump adviser said, “wants a rematch so badly with Biden he can taste it.”
Iced out of traditional publishing houses, he self-published a coffee table book about his tenure as president — Our Journey Together, priced at $74.99 per copy, $229.99 if signed. “It’s a book of pictures, largely, with statements,” Trump told Hugh Hewitt, “but a book of pictures.” It sold well.
He tried to broker a deal to help his Senate pick in North Carolina.
He endorsed David Perdue in his run against Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia. “Kemp has been a very weak Governor — the liberals and RINOs have run all over him on Election Integrity,” Trump said. “What’s Perdue’s reason to run? That he’s Trump’s lap dog?” a Kemp adviser told POLITICO. “That dog don’t hunt. Lap dogs don’t hunt.”
“Anybody that doesn’t think there wasn’t massive Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election is either very stupid, or very corrupt!” he said.
He blasted former Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, it was reported, for congratulating Biden on the day of his inauguration. “I haven’t spoken to him since,” Trump said. “Fuck him.”
He got the RNC to pay for $1.6 million of his personal legal bills.
He got Republican candidates to pay him to come to Mar-a-Lago to raise money for their campaigns. “When it comes to raising money for Republican causes and candidates, there are only two seasons that matter,” Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said. “Bedminster season and Mar-a-Lago season.”
He went on tour with Bill O’Reilly to talk about what he always talked about. “What happened on Jan. 6 was a protest against a rigged election — that’s what it was,” he said in one of four (sometimes patchily attended) “History Tour” conversations with Bill O’Reilly in arenas in Florida and Texas. “This wasn’t an insurrection.”
He endorsed somebody for the state Senate in Alaska.
He endorsed somebody for Texas state representative.
He put on a tux and celebrated New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago.
He endorsed Viktor Orbán — the authoritarian prime minister of Hungary.
He trawled for more challengers to Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach him: “Anyone want to run for Congress against Don Bacon in Nebraska?”
He announced he was going to have a press conference at Mar-a-Lago on the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6 and then canceled it.
He spent the anniversary of the riot at the Capitol sending out frenzied statements. “… the complicit media just calls it the Big Lie, when in actuality the Big Lie was the Election itself,” he said. “Never forget the crime of the 2020 Presidential Election. Never give up!” he said.
He called Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) a “jerk” because he called Trump’s lies lies.
He hung up on NPR’s Steve Inskeep.
He took another shot at Ron DeSantis.
He went to Arizona to have another rally. “Most losing presidential candidates are forced into quiet retirement by their parties,” the Atlantic’s Elaine Godfrey wrote from Florence. “Trump has bucked the trend, only tightening his grip on the GOP in the wake of his defeat. He has convinced Republican candidates all over the country — including those on stage tonight — to repeat his election lies, and convinced his rank-and-file supporters to treat those falsehoods as holy writ. By this point, those lies have been circulating for what feels like forever. But at tonight’s rally, as Trump’s fans called for the arrests of poll workers and the reinstatement of the rightful president, I got the sense that this might be just the beginning.”
He promoted on Martin Luther King Jr. Day renovations at his golf course in Miami. “Check it out!” he said.