Being an ex-president must be odd. Think about it. At one time you had the nuclear codes, a decked out luxury jet at your disposal, cameras everywhere, direct lines to foreign leaders, and access to those secret alien/time travel/cure-for-cancer/Kennedy assassination documents we all seem to hope exist. By and large, ex-presidents have stayed out of the spotlight. Occasional appearances, charity work, maybe a television interview every once in a while. But mostly, you’re a citizen.
And think about how incredible that is, especially in the Age of Social Media, which will surely be a heading in a textbook a hundred years from now. Barack Obama has probably been more public than almost any ex-president in recent memory, but he’s still not around much. That’s fascinating. In an age when there are so many outlets for famous people to end up in the public eye by choice or otherwise, he has managed to be relatively private. Same with George W. Bush. Bill Clinton was in public a bit more, but he gets a pass because a lot of it was campaigning for his wife. But George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson all stayed or continue to stay more or less out of the spotlight.
But Donald Trump is different. We knew this. The man has been a public face for forty years. He’s an author, technically, he made cameos in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and The Little Rascals, among other things. He was, of course, also the face of The Apprentice franchise. He was and continues to be a cult of personality. The fact that his Twitter account was suspended made news all over the world. Think about that. I don’t have the the hard evidence to substantiate this, but Google tells me that Donald Trump tweeted 34,000 time from the time he announced his candidacy for president in 2015 until last week when his account was suspended. That’s an average of about 515 tweets per month, or about 17 tweets a day. From a man in his seventies. Unreal.
So how will someone who must be so used to having that kind of attention handle being an ex-president? We are entering the series finale of Donald Trump. I do not expect him to run again in 2024. By then the GOP will have distanced itself from him as much as possible and a new batch of fresh-faced Republicans will be jockeying for power. I don’t expect him to run for any office ever again. He will probably shout from the sidelines, but I don’t think he’ll ever be on the political playing field ever again. Donald Trump will never again be in public office, but will he stay out of the public eye?
Probably not. I just can’t picture him leading a mostly quiet life like recent ex-presidents. I sincerely hope I’m wrong. The nation needs to forget Donald Trump and move on as soon as possible. This is likely an article for a different day, but I think Joe Biden should pardon Donald Trump. Pull a Gerald Ford and pardon the malfeasant just to move on. The first step to healing in this case is to remove the cancer, and Donald Trump is the cancer.
Either way, what can we expect from the series finale of Donald Trump? Will it be like Game of Thrones, with mixed reviews but a general feeling of letdown? The Game of Thrones ending for Donald Trump would be him getting louder and angrier and doing something ridiculous like running for mayor of Palm Beach or something.
Or will it be Breaking Bad, giving viewers a perfect bow on a perfect gift with the perfect amount of closure? In the Breaking Bad ending for Donald Trump, he retires to Florida, shuts up about having his election “stolen,” quietly resumes his business ventures, and spends his twilight years playing golf and visiting one of those Robert Kraft massage parlors. Hey, a nation can dream, right?
Or will it be more like Friends, which ran for a season or two too long and provided nothing but predictable, campy nothingness in the finale. In this version, Donald Trump keeps shouting nonsense, is convicted at his post-election impeachment trial, asserts executive privilege to avoid other criminal charges, and figures out a way to be in the papers and on the TV every day.
I think the Friends route is most likely. I don’t see Donald Trump exceeding expectations. Maybe he’ll get more involved in his business ventures again. Perhaps he’ll endorse the next Republican candidate in 2024. I sincerely believe he won’t run for office again. Perhaps if Joe Biden does pardon him, that will be his cue to sit back and shut up. Or maybe he’ll throw a tantrum. For better or worse, Donald Trump keeps things exciting. He’s unpredictable, reactionary, and unexpected. There’s a twist for every turn, and a plug for every plot hole. Let’s hope that whatever the series finale is for Donald Trump, the viewers can walk away satisfied.