WEST PALM BEACH: President Donald Trump wound up his vacation at his Florida resort yesterday, isolated, angry and with his power slipping away.
Two months after losing the US presidential election to Joe Biden, the 74-year-old Trump is still refusing to admit his defeat.
He spent the past eight days at his Mar-a-Lago resort playing golf, firing off angry tweets and making little pretence to still be governing the country.
Trump expanded his tweeted insults beyond his usual targets, the “fake news” media and the Democrats.
The Supreme Court, three of whose justices he appointed? “Totally incompetent and weak.”
Leaders of his Republican Party? “Pathetic.”
The Republican governor of Georgia? “A complete disaster.”
Other targets of vitriol include the FBI, his attorney general, and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, for starters.
During his vacation, Trump uncharacteristically did not have anything to say to the White House pool of about a dozen journalists who accompanied him to the Sunshine State.
The silence was a sharp contrast to the past four years, during which Trump has thrived on the give-and-take with reporters.
On the White House lawn, under the wing of Air Force One, on red carpets and elsewhere, Trump has rarely been able to resist the lure of waiting television cameras and microphones.
At the end of 2020, mum’s the word.
After years of proudly displaying bills and decrees that he had just signed for the cameras, Trump on Sunday signed a massive coronavirus relief package out of public view.
Trump had initially threatened to veto the eagerly awaited US$900 billion (RM3.62 billion) stimulus bill, passed with bipartisan support, before finally backing down and signing it without receiving any concessions.
The lasting images of Trump’s final presidential vacation will be pictures of him taken from a distance, playing golf in a white polo shirt and a red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.
The White House had insisted that while Trump had no public events planned at Mar-a-Lago, he would be working “tirelessly for the American people.”
“His schedule includes many meetings and calls,” it said.
At a time when the United States, like many other countries, is facing a grim surge in coronavirus cases, Trump had nothing to say about the pandemic except to blame state officials for delays in vaccine distribution.
On his next to last day in Florida, the United States saw a record 3,927 deaths in the space of 24 hours.
Trump returned to Washington yesterday afternoon, cutting short his vacation by a day and skipping the traditional glitzy New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago.
He did not speak to reporters on his departure or upon his arrival, but released a video on Twitter shortly after his return touting his accomplishments during his four years in office.
He did not mention the election.
Trump has 20 days remaining in the White House and questions are swirling over what he may do in his final days in office?
Who will he pardon next? Will he attend Biden’s January 20 inauguration ceremony?
Nobody knows. But it is clear that his desperate efforts to overturn the results of the November 3 election are doomed to failure and his influence is waning.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the powerful Republican Senate majority leader, acknowledged Biden’s victory and flatly rejected Trump’s demand to increase direct Covid-19 relief payments to Americans.
And a newspaper that has been one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, the New York Post, told him it was time to concede.
“Stop the Insanity,” the Rupert Murdoch-owned Post said in a banner headline on Monday.