In a column for Bloomberg, Donald Trump biographer Tim O'Brien said the combination of a collapsing economy, a pandemic -- that has left over 100,000 dead in the U.S -- and massive street protests against police brutality have led Donald Trump to expose his true self to the world.
According to the columnist, this past week the president was at his ugliest.
Noting the president's photo-op stunt with a Bible -- held up while peaceful protesters were gassed by federal law enforcement officials -- O'Brien wrote: "The St. John’s gig was a raw abuse of Trump’s powers, a stunt made possible by deploying state violence to clear a path through peaceful protesters saddened and angered by George Floyd’s death at the hands of police. It marked an end to several days of hibernation as Trump, hiding behind White House walls, his Twitter feed and his golf game, did his best to avoid the pain and anger unspooling across America. But his St. John’s show also was designed to intimidate protesters, stoking fear among people of color who have been demanding merely that their government and police refrain from killing them. And it was tragically off-kilter, a politically inept bit of stagecraft that served only to showcase his irresponsibility and utter lack of empathy."
According to the Trump biographer, the president was likely pleased with how everything went despite almost universal revulsion from everyone not inside his inner circle.
"Even if the staging ultimately doesn’t serve him well electorally, it will still serve him well personally. Because however unraveled he may be about weak poll numbers and social disarray he can’t control, performing at St. John’s advanced one of his few long-term goals: promoting Trumpism so that it endures beyond his presidency," he explained. "Whenever his tenure ends, I imagine Trump will attempt to start or buy a media company that can compete with Fox News and do battle with everyone else. He will continue to tour stadiums, offering the faithful a spiritual revival a la Elmer Gantry. He will remain a force in Republican politics, darkening the national conversation."
According to the columnist, Trump is hard at work on his post-presidency and is hoping to keep his fans in his fold and adoring him instead of fading out of view.
"Trump has used his time in the White House to cement his relationship with right-wing hardliners, older white guys, conservative Christians, anti-government loners, displaced rural and industrial workers and the more generally aggrieved. He’ll do anything to preserve that bond, even if it means tearing the country apart and fencing off the White House," he wrote adding, "Trump, alas, dreams only of himself. And he crossed his Rubicon last week. Don’t expect him to let go of anything. Whether he serves a second term as president or moves on to reshape himself as a media titan, he intends to stay very much with us. We’ll need leaders like Bowser, and the protesters galvanizing the country, to keep standing tall."
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