What is Donald Trump up to now?
Reprimanding senior Republicans and taking on corporations have been top of the former president’s agenda
Since his exit from the White House in January this year Donald Trump has taken a series of unprecedented actions.
Announcing via Twitter that he would not be attending Joe Biden’s inauguration, the former US president has since got himself banned from the social media platform, and continued to make false claims of his victory at the US 2020 Presidential election. Separate bans from Facebook and Instagram were upheld by Facebook’s Oversight Board today.
Trump has spoken in favour of voting legislation passed in Georgia which will impose new restrictions on voter registration, postal voting and electoral conduct when it comes into effect on 1 July 2021. He even led a call to boycott corporations who have spoken out against the legislation, including Coca-Cola – although The Independent notes he has since been pictured drinking a bottle of Diet Coke.
The first US president to have twice been impeached, Trump was found not guilty of inciting insurrection at the US Capitol in January 2021 at his second trial in February 2021. The former president described rioters as “patriots” in a tweet published at the time of the riots.
Here’s what else Trump has been working on since he left the White House in 2021.
Challenging the election results
Following the announcement of Biden’s electoral victory on 7 November 2020, Trump set out on a tireless campaign to overturn the election results and challenge the new Democratic administration.
The former president has “made clear he is still irked at his inability to hang on to the White House”, says The Telegraph. A phone call leaked to The Wall Street Journal in March revealed Trump telling an election investigator that “she would be praised if she came up with the ‘right answer’ after insisting that he was the true winner” of Georgia’s count.
Trump and others have since gone to court in six states with allegations of voting fraud, misallocation of votes and manipulation of signature-verification machinery among other claims, “and lost more than 60 cases, including at the Supreme Court”, The Washington Post reports.
Taking on the digital world
The suspension of Trump’s social media accounts by Twitter and Facebook in January 2021 hasn’t deterred the former president from taking on the digital world. He launched 45Office.com in March, a website commemorating his time in the White House.
The site features what The Guardian’s Martin Belam considers to be “a very selective retelling of the history of his time in office”. Visitors can submit event invitations to the former president and his wife Melania Trump, as well as requesting special-occasion greetings from the pair.
This week, the former US president added a communications platform to his website, designed to house his personal statements. A short video on the new web page describes it as “a space to speak freely and safely” which will publish content “straight from the desk of Donald J. Trump”. The statements date back to January 2021 and include Trump’s musings on what he calls the “Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020”.
Users are able to “like” and share the posts but are unable to leave comments, which led The New York Times technology columnist Kara Swisher to describe the new platform as no more than “a blog”. “I was like '2002 is calling and it wants its blog back’” she told the BBC’s Today programme.
As well as viewing archive statements, visitors to the website are given the option to sign up to receive an email notification when a new post is published. There is also a large “contribute” button and a shop. A footnote explains that the site is paid for by the former president’s Save America and Make America Great Again movements.
Senior adviser Jason Miller was quick to clarify to Fox News that the new web page was not the social media platform Trump has been teasing since March. “President Trump’s website is a great resource to find his latest statements… but this is not a new social media platform,” he said. “We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future.”
A Covid-19 vaccination video campaign released in March featured all living former US presidents – except the most recent. “It remains to be seen how far such messages of unity can go without the support of Trump,” says Forbes.
Despite his absence from the video, Trump has credited himself with developing coronavirus vaccines and has suggested they be renamed “Trumpcine”, The Independent reports. In March, US news outlets including CNN found that Trump and his wife were both vaccinated before leaving the White House in January but did not share the news publicly, in contrast to President Biden and other former presidents.
Will Trump make a political comeback?
In March, Trump hinted at attempting to return to office in the future. With what The Telegraph describes as “a vice-like grip on the Republican Party”, the former president has received requests from GOP candidates for endorsement ahead of the 2022 mid-term elections.
Publicly “attacking” senior Republicans Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell during an event at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida earlier this month was one of Trump’s tactics to establish himself as the party’s “kingmaker”, says The Times.
At the same event, Trump told National Republican Committee party donors: “In 2022, we are going to take back the House [of Representatives] and we are going to reclaim the Senate. And then in 2024, a Republican candidate is going to win the White House.” Whether Trump intends to be that candidate is as yet unclear.