Post-presidential life appears to be offering Donald Trump exactly what he wanted while in office: all of the power and none of the details of governance. No longer needing to even pretend to do his job, Trump’s days are reportedly filled with regular golf games, copious amounts of television, and standing ovations upon arrival for dinner on Mar-a-Lago’s outdoor patio. The former president appears to be relishing in the selective communication now available to him: he has consistently rejected meetings with everyone from 2024 hopefuls to Senate GOP candidates and has instead met only with golf friends, members of his Palm Beach club, and “folks with the ability to contact him themselves,” senior Trump adviser Jason Miller told Politico. “If you’re Trump, you don’t gotta play nice with these people anymore. You don’t have to do the whole fake political thing where you pretend to like people you don’t actually like,” one person close to Trump noted.
He is, however, meeting with MAGA-affiliated loyalists aligned with his bitterness towards the political establishment. In a sign that Trump is ramping up his political activities, Politico reports that he recently had former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi—who became the face of his fight to stop the counting of ballots in Pennsylvania right after the election—and former campaign advisers Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie for dinner. Further, meetings with dozens of prospective candidates “eager to fulfill his promise to exact vengeance upon incumbent Republicans who’ve scorned him” and to secure MAGA’s presence in the 2022 midterms could begin as early as next month, according to Politico.
Trump is also said to be enjoying the attention his sporadic announcements have garnered in the press and looking for ways to exert online influence without Twitter, from which he is permanently banned. Last week, he reportedly met with former campaign manager Brad Parscale to discuss that social media conundrum, as well as online fundraising efforts to support his post-presidential activism. Already, Save America, his new leadership PAC, has raised over $30 million, and he has lately used it as a tool to communicate with the public, such as to attack Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement that promised to fight the top Republican’s 2022 midterm picks. According to Axios, he is expected to channel similar energy during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida this week, which will be his first public appearance since leaving office. Trump reportedly plans to attack President Joe Biden’s “disastrous” immigration plan and will pledge to remain a central figure in the Republican party and its fight against Biden.
But Trump’s post-White House plans may yet be hampered by his own legal entanglements. While the former president was recently acquitted on charges that he incited the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the Justice Department’s investigation into the siege is ongoing and increasingly complex. Already, more than 230 people have been charged as a result of the inquiry, which could produce a total of 400 to 500 criminal cases, the New York Times reports. Now, prosecutors are shifting their focus to building “the more complicated conspiracy cases related to possible coordination among militia groups,” acting U.S. attorney Michael Sherwin said last month. Trump is also at the center of a complex criminal investigation at the state level: in recent months, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has widened its two-and-a-half-year investigation into the former president and his family business, and last week recruited an outside former prosecutor to bolster the team led by District Attorney Cyrus Vance. In addition to the Manhattan inquiry, Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation in Georgia, where prosecutors are examining his efforts to overturn the state’s election results.
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