Right now Donald Trump is making overtures about refusing to concede the election, fighting it in court until the bitter end, refusing to leave office peacefully, and basically taking a blow torch to the presidency on his way out the door. Here’s the thing.
Trump will do awful things on his way out the door. Try to pardon himself, or have Pence do it? Sure. Pilfer even more taxpayer money for himself? Absolutely. Carry out petty grievances? Of course. It’s who he is.
But even after all these years, most pundits still haven’t figured out that when Donald Trump says or hints that he’s going to do some awful thing, he almost never does it. It should be obvious; Trump lies all the time, so why wouldn’t he be lying when he makes threats? Yet the media still largely takes Trump at face value whenever he makes threats that are designed to scare people.
What the media doesn’t get is that Trump’s most awful threats are usually just theater, designed to distract everyone from the other awful things he’s actually quietly carrying out in the background. Trump is a sociopath and his mind is failing, but he’s still at least a vaguely rational villain.
Trump knows that he’s earmarked for bankruptcy and prison, and that the only leverage he has left is his brief remaining time as president. Once he realizes he has zero chance of magically remaining in office, he’s going to spend his final days in office trying to set up the softest landing possible for himself in his inevitable criminal trials. If he starts threatening to nuke Philadelphia or something, it’ll merely be his way of trying to distract us from the pardons, the embezzling, his other corrupt but low key antics on his way out the door.
I urge everyone not to fall for it. Don’t let Donald Trump trick you into thinking that he’s seriously planning to go down in some weird blaze of glory and blow us all up. Keep in mind that he’s always lying, so why wouldn’t he be lying when he starts telling us how he’s going to handle his exit? It’ll be ugly, but in a white collar corruption kind of way, and not in the histrionic doomsday way that he might try to scare us into believing that he’s pursuing.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report