Now that his co-conspirators in the Trump-Russia scandal are being indicted and arrested, Donald Trump has finally figured out that he’s screwed. He appears to now be aware that he’s in real danger of being ousted from office. Thus he’s publicly floating what can only be described as a desperate attempt on his part at a compromise with regard to his exit.
On the day the criminal charges were revealed, Trump quietly used his longtime pal Chris Christie to float the notion that he may not seek reelection in 2020. Now Trump is using his newfound ally Rand Paul to float that notion again, this time a bit more loudly and consciously (link). It’s clear what Donald Trump is doing here: he’s quietly testing the waters to measure the public’s appetite for the idea of leaving him alone if he agrees not to run again. The mere fact that Trump is floating something like this is stunning.
Set aside for a minute what you think Trump’s prospects are of surviving this. The key here is that he now believes his presidency is in severe trouble. Always one to try to make a deal, and always willing to walk away when he’s losing (six bankruptcies and so forth), Trump is now signaling that he’s willing to trade away any possibility of a second term if he’s allowed to complete his current term before exiting.
The American people are not going to be willing to settle for this kind of deal. The majority want him impeached, removed, tried, and imprisoned for his crimes. Donald Trump now appears to realize that this is a very real possibility, and thus he’s trying to find some kind of desperate compromise for his exit from office that would allow him to save face. Still, Trump doesn’t understand just how screwed he is. He’s now begging to be allowed to exit after just four years. He might be lucky if he lasts another four weeks.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report