Trump’s legacy will be framed by his actions between now and the inauguration
President Trump’s memoirs divide naturally into thirds, spread across two volumes, with the initial book encompassing the first two-thirds of his life.
The first third begins in Queens and ends with a famous trip down the escalator at Trump Tower.
The second third could encompass the epic 2015-2016 campaign and the remarkable roller coaster of his four years in office. Against all odds, and in the teeth of an investigation (some of which was based on false statements and wrongfully issued warrants), Trump set off on four years of knockdown battles with the political, media and legal establishments. Along the way he jolted the American people and much of the world into recognizing the threat from the Chinese Communist Party and remaking our defenses against it, brought new peace and alliances to the Middle East, isolated the rogue regime in Iran, rebuilt the U.S. military and pressed NATO’s members to do the same for their own defenses.AD
The memoir will convey his enduring impact on the courts, which will echo through the decades. There will be chapters on the sweeping tax reform, the First Step Act, the building of hundreds of miles of wall on the southern border, a massive deregulation, the “blue-collar boom” and many other lesser known but critically important measures such as the Great American Outdoors Act.
He can claim the first realignment since Ronald Reagan in 1980: how he built a massive coalition of voters, even as most voices on cable television opposed and assailed him. He can tell the story of “Russia, Russia, Russia” and that vast attempted take-down of his presidency, as well as his triumphant emergence from the most partisan impeachment in U.S. history. And amid all that, the arrival of the virus from Wuhan, Operation Warp Speed and the campaign of 2020. His actions over the next 60 days can frame his legacy to date and secure his place in U.S. history.
Trump’s memoirs, and indeed the presidential library that will rise somewhere as well, will of necessity record how the president ordered his steps after the recounts are done.AD
If Trump embraces President-elect Joe Biden, welcomes him to the White House, commands a smooth transition of power, sits on the inauguration platform, smiles and waves as he departs to Mar-a-Lago, the final months of his presidency will be largely just another rake stepped on by Manhattan-Beltway media elites, another orgy of excessive speculation and innuendo. If the next 60 days are about Operation Warp Speed delivering vaccines and therapeutics just as the novel coronavirus is returning with a vengeance, it will be a glorious pivot in the story, a theme that emerged Friday afternoon in a news conference at the White House.
The final volumn of his memoirs can only be imagined now. When Trump leaves D.C. for Mar-a-Lago, he will launch a super PAC, build his presidential library and, yes, begin planning campaigns 2022 and 2024. Trump doesn’t need to own a cable-news network, but he should control a block of prime-time programming. He could effortlessly host his own show, probably with one or more of the Trump children, so he doesn’t have to be on set five days a week. This would allow him time for maintaining and expanding his coalition of at least 72 million.
Trump will likely oversee not just a shadow government but also a robust, ongoing campaign.
Trump and Trump loyalists will work to maintain a hold on the GOP, which is best accomplished by his proceeding smoothly toward a peaceful, graceful transition of power. Then for Trump, a period of consolidation and celebration of his achievements. Then …