Donald Trump finally began testing the waters on Friday night. There are those who have long insisted that “Trump is too [insert any adjective] to ever resign.” Then there those who know him better, such as his own former ghostwriter, who all believe Trump will resign if he believes he’s going to be ousted anyway. Trump’s own lifelong pattern has been to face defeat by declaring victory and walking away, as evidenced by his six bankruptcies. Now Trump is at least sticking his toe into those waters.
It’s important to understand the context of what Trump was facing when he sat down for his Friday night Twitter marathon. He’d just taken reckless unilateral action aimed at destroying two of President Obama’s most celebrated accomplishments, Obamacare and the Iran deal. It felt a lot like a desperate criminal trying to torch the place before fleeing. Then on Friday afternoon we learned that Reince Priebus and Paul Manafort may both end up flipping on him in the Russia scandal. That explained why Trump seemed to think his presidency is about to die. Then Twitter happened.
All his other semi-coherent Friday night tweets aside, one stood out in particular. Trump tweeted “Such a wonderful statement from the great Lou Dobbs: ‘We take up what may be the most accomplished presidency in modern American history.'” Dobbs is one of Trump’s few remaining apologists in the media, and he’s a fellow racist, so it’s not shocking that he would consider Trump’s utterly failed presidency to be a success. What’s notable is that Trump is now looking to push the sentiment that he did indeed succeed on the whole.
Yes, it’s fairly subtle. But when you look at the overall context of a day in which Donald Trump probably figured out that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is going to be able to take him down after all, and then he began trying to complete his own warped political priorities as fast as possible, it stands out that Trump is now indeed trying to declare victory on his presidency. He’s testing the waters for a “declare victory and resign” strategy that was always going to be his endgame.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report