The transition from leader of the free world to regular old civilian is one that only a small group of people will ever experience, and with no official guidebook to tell them what to do, ex-presidents are forced to forge their own paths. George W. Bush took up painting. Bill Clinton caught up on TV shows he’d missed and started a philanthropic foundation. Barack Obama wrote another memoir, did a podcast with Bruce Springsteen, and got halfway to EGOT status. As for the most recent individual to exit the White House? In addition to still obsessing (and lying) about the 2020 election, dining with noted antisemites, and defending the violent mob that broke into the US Capitol on January 6, he mostly spends his days staying cocooned in his for-profit club, where aides are tasked with drumming up good press—and he can avoid anyone telling him how much he sucks.
Yes, according to a report from The Washington Post re: Donald Trump’s life of late, a typical day for the ex-president involves rising early, making calls, watching TV, and reading some newspapers. After that, virtually every day of the week, he plays golf; while on the course, he is often accompanied by a former One America News host named Natalie Harp, who rides along in a cart “equipped with a laptop and sometimes a printer to show him uplifting news articles, online posts, or other materials.” On “quiet days,” when Harp has presumably been unable to find anyone saying anything positive about the former guy in even the worst corners of the internet, another aide, Molly Michael, has reportedly phoned up “Trump’s network of allies across the country requesting that they dial the former president to boost his spirits with positive affirmations.” According to people who have been on the receiving end of these requests, Michael has essentially said there’s no need to worry that Trump is, like, going to harm himself or anything; this is simply about feeding his insatiable appetite for attention.
To that end, in perhaps one of the saddest anecdotes concerning Trump’s transition from POTUS to FPOTUS, the former guy reportedly “asked a team of advisers” in early 2021 “if he could summon a press pool” for an event at his club, only to be told, per a former aide, “that he didn’t have a group standing around waiting for him anymore,” on account of the whole no-longer-being-president thing. According to the Post, the team cobbled together “the few reporters who happened to be reporting in Palm Beach” and had time in their schedules to show up.
Anyway, back to a day in the life of our extremely cosseted ex-president. After lunch, 45 changes into a suit and “shows up in the office above the Mar-a-Lago ballroom”; Harp, who often “perches herself right outside” said office, is there to “cater attentively to his need for constant praise,” which we assume involves yet more printouts about conservative commentators saying things like, “Donald Trump should be crowned emperor,” or simply calling him “my liege.” Come dinnertime, Trump shows up in the public portion of the club, where paying members “stand and applaud at his appearance” and then do so “again after he finishes his meal and retires for the night.” Sometimes he makes unannounced appearances at people’s weddings and delivers speeches about himself; an equal opportunist, he has also done this at memorial services. In case it wasn’t clear, Trump’s choice to basically never leave Mar-a-Lago, or one of his other for-profit clubs, means that he, a guy who would benefit from a dose of constructive criticism—or someone bluntly explaining to him that he’s a malignant cancer on society—never has to encounter anyone who thinks he’s anything less than the greatest president to ever live.
Per the Post:
As a private citizen, Trump is far more isolated than he was as president. He makes virtually no public appearances outside of political rallies where he is surrounded by even larger crowds of screaming fans. (Despite declaring his reelection campaign in the Mar-a-Lago ballroom on Nov. 15, he has not emerged from his cocoon for a rally out in the country since then.) He takes no vacations to properties he does not own. He almost never encounters people willing to challenge his behavior—much less true political opponents.
Several people close to Trump said there are only a few people who are willing to deliver bad news left in his orbit, political adviser Susan Wiles chief among them. His circle has shrunken considerably, with many of his longtime allies attempting to avoid dinner invites—and some even weighing roles with other 2024 candidates. “No one wants to confront him because he can be a beast,” one adviser said.
Some longtime aides are particularly distressed by the influence of Harp, 31, who is rarely absent from his side.… “She is indicative of the people around him who just love him,” the adviser said. “Love him too much.”
According to the Post, there is “no senior aide living in Florida full time, with advisers flying in and out as needed.” Which apparently means a lot of “Yes, sir, you are the best, sir” and little to no adult supervision, thus leading to things like dinners with antisemites and white supremacists. “He needs someone there to say, ‘Here’s a really bad idea, and this is why.’ I don’t think he has that kind of crowd around him right now. Nor does the president want anybody like that,” David Urban, a former Trump adviser, told the outlet.
What could go wrong?
Hope Hicks shows up to twist the knife as the January 6 committee urges the DOJ to prosecute Trump
Donald Trump’s extremely long list of legal problems got significantly worse on Monday, when the January 6 committee capped off its year-and-a-half-long investigation into the attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, and the violent riot that ensued, by recommending the Justice Department charge him with four major crimes. While the recommendation is not binding, and the DOJ could choose to ignore it, it is nevertheless a shocking indictment of a former president of the United States, who hopes to hold that position again come January 20, 2025. Probably making the whole thing sting even more? That one of his most loyal aides, and a person he would undoubtedly rank above several of his children, helped twist the knife.
Continuing the tradition of airing taped testimony of various high-ranking individuals within Trumpworld, the committee used its final public hearing to show footage of a deposition with Hope Hicks, a former longtime senior counselor to the ex-president whom Trump has affectionately referred to as “Hopey” and “Hopester.” According to Hicks, who left the Trump administration in 2018 and returned in early 2020 to help get him reelected, in the days prior to the January 6 insurrection, she pressed for him to tell his followers that anyone coming to Washington to protest the election should not engage in violence—but the recommendation was refused. “It was my view that it was important that the president put out some kind of message in advance of the event,” she said, adding that another senior adviser, Eric Herschmann, made the same request but was also rebuffed.