Let’s be clear, Donald Trump is a quitter. While there is some dispute over the precise number, we know that Trump businesses have filed for bankruptcy on at least six occasions. He has divorced twice, and indications are a third divorce could be in the offing. He has given up on or fired more White House staffers, cabinet members and advisors than any other Chief Executive in history up to this point in any presidency. Despite his bloviating bluster to the contrary he has, de facto, all but given up on building his wall, defeating ISIS, repealing the Affordable Care Act, jailing Hillary Clinton, and rebuilding the infrastructure.
But the presidency is the one thing he cannot quit without sustaining what for him would be personally disastrous consequences. First, he can’t quit because he will lose all his political capital. Should he quit, he will become instantly politically irrelevant, a thing his ego – which requires constant hourly feeding – will be unable to endure. His tweets will lose that presidential heft and become impotent. Indeed, many people will simply stop reading his tweets altogether and the rest will only laugh at them.
But the number one reason quitting will be cataclysmic is that the minute he does so, Trump will irrevocably awake to find himself on the fast track to prison. And it is quite probable that Trump knows this better than anyone. So deep and varied and multifarious are the crimes of Donald Trump that there very well may not exist a single jurisdiction in the 94 Federal Judicial Districts in the United States that cannot credibly indict Trump for one or more felonies, so long as it can be demonstrated that one of its citizens or one of its companies can be shown to have been defrauded as a consequence of Trump’s actions.
While it is true that the Southern District of New York has the heftiest claims, and will almost certainly indict him on multiple charges, we’ve got 93 more chances just in case they don’t. In other words, the sooner Donald Trump is out of the Oval Office the sooner he will be in prison, probably for the rest of his life. If he understands this then he will probably cling to the presidency as if his life depends on it, because in every way that matters it does.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.