Donald Trump is anything but coy. He’s told us for years that if it was up to him he would release his tax returns but he can’t because he’s under audit from the IRS. Meanwhile he keeps fighting like hell in court to keep his tax returns hidden.
Trump vehemently denies raping E. Jean Carroll using the nauseatingly revolting reason that “she’s not my type.” (Presumably, therefore, he would have raped her had she been “his type.”) Meanwhile he’s fighting like hell to keep his DNA out of court.
So when Trump does something it’s usually for a purpose, and a corrupt purpose at that. So why wouldn’t an egotist like Donald Trump officially announce his 2024 candidacy for president now? One very good reason is because it’s much easier for a candidate to steal campaign contributions if the candidate hasn’t officially announced their candidacy. Put another way, a candidate can take campaign contributions in any quantity for any reason and use it to finance their lifestyle as long as that candidate doesn’t “officially” announce their candidacy. It’s a stupid rule intended to appeal to the good faith and honesty of every potential candidate.
Now I am not a doctor so I cannot tell you how long Trump has for this world. I hear he’s deteriorating horribly but I personally don’t see it. Yes, he looks older and slower and dumber than he did in 2016, just like a lot of people his age frequently do. But will he be dead or so old and senile and sick as to be unviable as a candidate in just under 3 years from now? I have no idea, and I’m not sure it matters. Given the almost unlimited gullibility of the MAGA set I wouldn’t be surprised if they looked past any deterioration, no matter how obvious, no matter how extreme.
Of course, if Donald Trump is in prison in 2024 that would make it much harder for him to run. Six years ago it would never occur to anyone to wonder if a person can run for president from behind bars. But since there is no law forbidding it the question is no longer moot.
I’m like a man hitchhiking in the bed of a pickup truck. All I can see clearly is the road behind me. I cannot see the road ahead of me with anything like absolute certainty. I know what kind of terrain I’m in at any given time, be it mountainous or urban or along a seashore. And I do know that the road behind is full of shocking hairpin turns and crater-sized potholes that were wholly unforeseen. All I can say for sure about the road ahead is it’s going to be surprising — if the road behind is any indication.
Right now the current road makes it ripe for Donald Trump to steal with impunity. Trump has no long range plan — he never does — and his past actions have always been ad hoc and purely transactional. Right now he’s stealing and it works for him right now.
Like most people whose fortunes are inextricably tied to the hospitality industry during a pandemic, it may very well be that Trump isn’t just flat broke but hundreds of millions — possibly billions — of dollars in debt. Extreme debt in Trump’s world doesn’t always mean the appearance of poverty. Theft on a grand scale is the only way he can continue to finance his lavish lifestyle and maintain the appearance of wealth. With Trump appearance counts for a lot. His ego requires that everyone think he’s a billionaire, even if he isn’t.
So don’t be surprised if Trump goes on just like this for some time, never announcing anything, content to just steal and steal and steal, until those hairpin turns and shocking, crater-sized potholes finally catch up with him. If they ever do. We shall see. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.