This was first posted on Facebook on 7th November 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
Mid-afternoon UK time, so morning EST, Donald Trump announced by tweet that his fixer Rudy Giuilani would be holding a press conference at Four Seasons in Philadelphia at 11:30am EST.
It seems Trump tweeted the announcement before his team had got the agreement of the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at the Comcast Center, because shortly afterwards, he deleted that tweet and tweeted that the press conference would be happening at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, which is a small garden centre in Philadelphia. Next to an adult bookstore. With a crematorium across the street. I am not kidding you about any of this.
An hour after Trump had tweeted this correction and deleted his original tweet, the official Twitter account of Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center tweeted dryly
“To clarify, President Trump’s press conference will NOT be held at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia.
“It will be held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping — no relation with the hotel.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump was golfing. He tweeted that he had WON BY A LOT after AP and CNN – and Fox News – declared Biden had won.
But that was his last tweet. For now.
Trump’s plans for a November Nightmare may not be cancelled, but judges are striking down his team’s attempted lawsuits because they neglected to provide any actual evidence of voter fraud.
Presumably, once Trump climbs out of his golf cart and starts watching TV again, it is going to sink in over the days and months ahead til 20th January, that he really has lost, he will not be President after noon Wednesday 12 weeks from now, and that unless he either flees the country or cuts a deal with Joe Biden, there are a number of unpleasant consequences awaiting him.
How far Trump really is detached from reality, we’ve never known. He appeared to be absolutely oblivious to the risks from coronvirus, but we found out months after the fact that he knew how dangerous and how infectious COVID-19 is – he just didn’t care if anyone else got it, and was evidently confident that if he did, he’d survive.
Trump will not make a concession speech acknowledging Joe Biden as the winner. We already know this.
It’s really a question of whether he has enough grasp on reality to understand that he has lost, and whether he still thinks his lifestyle of golfing, TV, chicken dinners, and political rallies, will continue except that he won’t have to use the White House as a base any more. (Whenever Trump has been involved in a legal case, his lawyers have learned to meet with him in pairs, so that when Trump lies about what they told him or what he told them, they have dual-corroboration of what was actually said.) We don’t know how far Trump fails to understand that his lies aren’t actually facts, or how much he just expects everyone around him to nod and agree whether or not what he’s said is true.
I expect he will have his team start contacting ghostwriters to write his autobiography as President Trump sometime in the next few weeks – someone is bound to suggest to him that this will be a bestseller and he’ll be able to demand an advance of millions – and contacting Biden’s team to demand concessions “in exchange” for leaving peacefully. (I hope there are none.)
Whatever happens over the next few weeks, and whatever happens after 20th January, one thing is sweetly certain: at noon 20th January 2021, either Donald Trump leaves the White House voluntarily, or the Secret Service will remove him – and the contingent unfortunate enough to be still assigned to him, will go with him to his chosen destination. (If he insists that’s his own private jet, I sincerely hope the Secret Service confirm with the pilot that he has no instructions to fly outside the country.)
Meanwhile, over here in the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson is crapping himself.
I sincerely hope that’s literal as well as figurative.
Boris Johnson quite evidently signed the Withdrawal Agreement in January, which he had touted as an “oven-ready deal” for months as the EU agreed to it already – with the full intent of breaking the Northern Ireland Protocol, which binds the UK to keep an open border on the island of Ireland, and a goods and customs border down the Irish Sea, to preserve the Good Friday Agreement.
While Nancy Pelosi had repeatedly warned Johnson that she, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, would agree to no trade deal with the UK unless the UK had honoured the Good Friday Agreement, as evidently Donald Trump didn’t GAF one way or another.
If Trump were to be President for the next four years, Boris Johnson could look forward with confidence to an ally in the White House, insofar as Trump was ever anybody’s ally. But Trump likes to pay state visits to England and use Scottish airports and his own hotels in Scotland for profit, and if you asked Trump about the Belfast Agreement he’d probably say he liked Doonbeg better.
But now Trump will be gone, and Joe Biden is as committed as Nancy Pelosi to preserving the Good Friday Agreement. If Boris Johnson wants to even pretend he’s going to have a trade deal with the US, he cannot afford to exercise the international-law-breaking provisions of the Internal Market Bill. He will have to do what he evidently promised Brexiter MPs in private he would not: impose the border down the Irish Sea, and stick to the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol that he signed the UK to, before we Brexited on 31st January.
No one in the Vote Leave coterie is going to be happy about this – or about the prospect that without Trump in control of the Department of Justice, we may find out more about the strings that ran under the door for Brexit, and who was pulling them. No one has yet investigated the Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, and Boris Johnson dreads a Russia report.
Of course, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings could decide to quit early and avoid the rush. Even before Trump lost, I thought it likely Johnson wouldn’t stay til the May 2021 Scottish Parliament election.
And now – champagne!