Washington Donald Trump is celebrating his first birthday since leaving the White House. His influence with the Republicans is unbroken. On the Internet, however, the former Twitter president is threatened with a painful decline into insignificance.
For weeks the Republicans in the USA have been beating the drum for their most prominent member: “We are collecting signatures from patriots from all over the country to fill a HUGE birthday card,” it says in one of their emails. The birthday child: Ex-President Donald Trump, who will be 75 on June 14th. Since he moved out of the White House – and since he was kicked out of Twitter – things have calmed down around him. The ex-president is far from being a political pensioner. In the background he continues to pull the strings in his party. His comeback as a presidential candidate is not ruled out either.
Trump does not want to admit the election defeat against Joe Biden, whom he ridiculed as “sleepy”. By the way, the Democrat Biden is in Brussels on Trump’s special day to mend relations with the European allies who were badly affected under his predecessor. The ex-president sees himself deprived of his victory by “the greatest electoral fraud in the history of our country”, as he never tires of emphasizing. “The big lie” is what Trump critics now call the prayer wheel-like assertion for which the ex-president’s camp has not yet provided any evidence.
Trump whistled for customs in the White House, the same applies to his role as ex-president. Trump spent the first few months after his tenure in his club Mar-a-Lago in Florida, and has since moved to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, his summer home. Former incumbents are usually reluctant to criticize the successor. Trump, on the other hand, shoots emails from Florida and New Jersey against the Biden government, which he accuses of “destroying” his achievements. The judiciary has also become a target of his attacks. The New York attorney’s office – which fought for his tax records to be handed over – is investigating. Trump speaks of a “witch hunt”.
The Washington Post reported in early May that Trump had found a certain rhythm after several weeks in Mar-a-Lago. He watches TV, speaks on the phone with allies and receives party friends. At dinner, the ex-president was applauded by club guests, he was playing golf and he was “railing against the results of the 2020 election”. In his environment, Trump boasted that he expected a book deal at some point, although no such offer was known. Trump has shown little interest in a library that ex-presidents traditionally set up. Trump seems to fear that any conversation about his political legacy signals that he does not want to run again in the 2024 presidential election.
Whether Trump will run again as a candidate will also depend on how the Republicans fare in the next year’s congressional elections. Trump wants to play the kingmaker before the elections by publicly supporting candidates or denying them his support. Should the Republicans recapture the House of Representatives and possibly also the Senate from the Democrats, Trump should sell that as his success.
The ex-president recently demonstrated how great Trump’s influence still is within his party when he had his party critic Liz Cheney elected from her leadership position in the parliamentary group in the House of Representatives. In the general public, however, Trump’s influence has shrunk dramatically, which is mainly due to the suspension of his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Trump and his camp have repeatedly announced the return of the ex-president on social media, possibly on their own platform. What followed then was more of a blow job.
At the beginning of May Trump started a blog area on his homepage, entitled: “From Donald J. Trump’s Desk”. At the end of May it was said in a circular mail to his followers that the ex-president had made a “courageous return to social media”. The blog went offline three days later – and according to a report in The Hill newspaper, a revival is not planned. The Washington Post had previously reported that Trump’s homepage attracted fewer visitors within a week than, for example, the pet adoption site Petfinder. The newspaper wrote: “On the Internet, former President Donald Trump is sliding towards something he has fought all his life: insignificance.”