Gone are the clicks of flashing cameras. Absent is the roar of a cheering crowd. Instead of a commanding final full week of winning, the President is playing the role of victim and not a gracious leader departing office.
Trump has been consumed by the unraveling of his presidency during his last days in office, according to people around him, which included a casual discussion among advisers recently about a possible resignation.
Trump shut the idea down almost immediately. And he has made clear to aides in separate conversations that mere mention of President Richard Nixon, the last president to resign, were banned.
He told one adviser during an expletive-laden conversation recently never to bring up the ex-president ever again. During the passing mention of resigning this week, Trump told people he couldn’t count on Vice President Mike Pence to pardon him like Gerald Ford did Nixon, anyway.
Eager for a final taste of the pomp of being president, Trump has asked for a major send-off on Inauguration Day next week, according to people familiar with the matter, before one last presidential flight to Palm Beach.
But the signs of his impending departure are everywhere — including right outside his window. Workers hung bunting Thursday that read “2021 Biden-Harris Inauguration” from temporary stands across from the White House North Portico. It was visible from his third-story residence.
Aides have pleaded with Trump to deliver some type of farewell address, either live or taped, that would tick through his accomplishments in office. But he has appeared disinterested and noncommittal. On Thursday, it was Pence carrying out tasks ordinarily left to a president, like visiting national guardsmen posted at the US Capitol or visiting White House operators to say farewell.
Closing up shop
With less than a week left in office, Trump’s staff is preparing to leave the White House campus for a final time. Many officials have already departed, but those who are still coming into the office have focused on the offboarding process and packing up their offices. There were signs of moving activity Thursday, including a gray van from the fine art movers Crozier. Debbie Meadows, the wife of the chief of staff, was spotted carrying out a stuffed pheasant from her husband’s office and loading it into her car.
The upstairs of the White House press shop now sits virtually empty. Desks where assistants used to sit outside the office of the press secretary are now vacant, with the exception of boxes and stacks of documents. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has been largely…