He is a hard habit to break.
The news media and partisan critics are still obsessed with former President Donald Trump, his time in office, and the prospects for his post-White House future. Consider that during the most recent White House press conference on Friday, 15 out of the first 23 questions posed by a suddenly polite press corps to press secretary Jen Psaki were about Mr. Trump, according to a handy count by Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.
Mr. Trump‘s immediate future is mesmerizing journalists, who appear to daydream of Mr. Trump‘s impeachment, or treat it like an upcoming major sports or entertainment event. There’s talk he plans to found a new cable network, launch an independent political party or is already-knee-deep in planning a political comeback in 2024.
All this chatter continues to erupt — and Mr. Trump has not even been out of office a week. Speculation is rampant.
“Most ex-presidents spend their time out of office playing golf, getting their libraries in order, making well-paid speeches, writing even more lucrative memoirs and biting their tongues about what the next guy is doing. Other than the golf, the road ahead for Donald Trump, a president who has never adhered to his office’s norms, will be unlike any other,” predicts Bloomberg News.
“With a love for the limelight, Trump is expected to pursue media opportunities of some kind, whether a book deal, a lucrative role at a news channel or his own media venture,” the news organization says.
“What’s next for Trump and Trumpism?” asked the BBC. “What will Trump do next?” asked Yahoo News. “Donald Trump‘s drama-filled presidency is over. But will there be a second act?” asked ABC News.
Certainly the news media would like to see a second act, accommodated by their own catcalls and analysis. Otherwise, the news cycle may get pretty dull.
Meanwhile, Wall Street 24/7 has tracked down what every president did after leaving office, based on historic information on all U.S. presidents from the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, from White House historical records, and information supplied by the History Channel.
The news organization reveals that the earliest presidents simply returned to their previous lives as lawyers or landowners. Some became officials with universities. John Adams — the nation’s second president — wrote books and news columns for 25 years after leaving office.
A few former presidents succeeded in running for Congress, some became activists in various social causes, some died in office or were assassinated. William Howard Taft, the 27th president, became chief justice of the Supreme Court.
The research ultimately found, however, that “public speaker” was the chosen occupation of most presidents of the modern era, though Bill Clinton was described as a “political analyst” and George W. Bush as an “amateur painter” when they took their leave of the White House.
MR. TRUMP‘S PARTICULARS OF THE MOMENT
Now for a brief reality check, with more to come. Here’s what we know about the 45th president and his current activities. Former President Donald Trump is playing some golf and enjoying a little down time at serene Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence.
But a new workplace is already in the making. The former president is setting up shop with the help of a small team of “five junior staffers” who served with Mr. Trump during his time in office. So says Rob Crilly, an observant, boots-on-the-ground kind of guy who covers the White House for The Washington Examiner.
They are “Trump‘s young guns,” Mr. Crilly writes.
This is not unique. Other former presidents have followed a similar pattern, arriving at their chosen place of retirement with a small, deft staff who are familiar with the ex-president in question.
Mr. Trump, however, has much in his future, some of it quite challenging.
“While he is powering down, in some ways, he has to power up, in other ways, and focus his attention. Other presidents could take years to write their books, but he has impeachment right before him — and a full legal plate,” presidential historian Martha Kumar told Mr. Crilly.
ABE LINCOLN’S PROACTIVE APPROACH
There has been much ado over Inauguration Day security these days. It is of note that Abraham Lincoln had the same concerns, and was proactive in securing his own safety.
A rare letter from Lincoln, which reveals that he personally arranged his own personal security for his inauguration in 1861, has just come up for sale, penned in Lincoln’s hand and outlining his expectations, and offering an invitation to Maj. David Hunter to join several other military escorts who eventually accompanied him on a train bound for Washington from his home in Springfield, Illinois.
“I have determined to leave here for Washington on February 11th subject to be changed for any extraordinary cause. I find the journey will have to be a circuitous and rather tedious one. I expect the pleasure of your company,” Lincoln wrote in his dispatch, dated Jan. 26, 1861.
The Raab Collection is offering the original letter; it has been in a private collection and has a current value of $150,000.
“This powerful letter shows the 16th president taking a personal role in his own security during the pre-inauguration period. We’ve never seen another like it,” said Nathan Raab, president of the Pennsylvania-based organization.
Curious? Find the details at Raabcollection.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 11% of U.S. adults say people in their community take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 “all of the time”; 8% of Republicans, 12% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.
• 32% say people take these steps “most of the time”; 28% of Republicans, 28% of independents and 39% of Democrats agree.
• 32% say people “occasionally” take those steps; 28% of Republicans, 34% of independents and 33% of Democrats agree.
• 24% say people “rarely or never” take those steps; 33% of Republicans, 24% of independents and 17% of Democrats agree.
• 1% “do not go out in public” in their community; 0% of Republicans, 1% of independents and 1% of Democrats agree.
Source: A CNN/SSRS poll of 1,003 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 9-14 and released Jan. 21.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.