Day 1,456: Trump triggered by mere mention of Richard Nixon’s name, as he spends final days in office angry and alone
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a gloomy place for Donald Trump these days. The moving boxes have arrived, resignations came early and everyone is trying to avoid his wrath.
Just six days out from Joe Biden taking over the Oval Office, Trump’s time is ending with a whimper and anger.
Reportedly, even the mere mention of Richard Nixon’s name can draw a tirade, with Trump’s not-so-tacit admission that he need a pardon but also that can’t count on Mike Pence to deliver him one if he was to resign.
Trump shut the idea down [of resigning] almost immediately. And he has made clear to aides in separate conversations that mere mention of President Richard Nixon, the last president to resign, were banned.
He told one adviser during an expletive-laden conversation recently never to bring up the ex-president ever again. During the passing mention of resigning this week, Trump told people he couldn’t count on Vice President Mike Pence to pardon him like Gerald Ford did Nixon, anyway.
His current predicament would be sad if it weren’t entirely self-inflicted and earned.
He has grown more and more worried about what legal or financial calamities may await him when he is no longer president, people who have spoken to him said, fueled by warnings from lawyers and advisers. He is weighing pardons, including for himself and his family, as he attempts to muster a legal team for another impeachment trial. And he is resentful of Republicans who he feels abandoned him in his hour of need, including the GOP leaders of the House and Senate.
So tiny is Trump, that he has refused to reach out to Joe Biden in any capacity since the election, including to extend common courtesies routinely extended during the presidential handoff.
Initially, Trump had planned to depart the White House a day early. But he now plans to leave on the morning of January 20. His departure aboard Marine One from the White House South Lawn will likely be visible and audible to the Bidens, who will spend the night before the inauguration at Blair House, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the executive mansion. Its use was offered to them by the State Department rather than the Trumps, who refuse to make contact with the incoming president and first lady.
Largely alone, Trump is preparing for more of the same when he leaves office. Gone will be the pomp and adoring crowds and legal immunity and cameras and hundreds of people waiting for his every command. Present will be life as an ex-president, one with few friends and a plummeting approval rating.
1,456 days in, 6 to go