President Trump and his staff are considering holding events to mark his administration’s work on “rebuilding the economy” and “rebuilding the military” as they look to underline their achievements during their final days in office and distract from the fallout of last week’s attack on the Capitol.
On Tuesday, Trump will fly to Texas to celebrate progress on building a border wall.
And aides hope he will also showcase what they see as two other wins on the economy and the armed forces, which, under Trump, saw year-on-year increases in funding from $596 billion in President Barack Obama’s final year to $740 billion forecast for this year, and the establishment of the United States Space Force.
A senior administration official told the Washington Examiner that discussions continued about how best to mark the accomplishments.
But after a bruising week when his supporters attacked the United States Capitol — triggering a slew of White House resignations, raising a fresh impeachment challenge, and forcing the president from major social media platforms — the trip to Texas and chances to talk about two of his favorite subjects offer Trump a welcome distraction as he runs out the clock.
Trump had hoped to welcome New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick to the White House to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but the football icon declined after last week’s events.
A fresh wave of pardons is expected, and a final raft of executive orders has reportedly been drafted.
Whether it will reshape the story of Trump’s final days in office, distracting from the fallout of violence at the Capitol, is another matter.
Costas Panagopoulos, professor of political science at Northeastern University, said everything would “pale” beside images of an “insurrection.”
“Democrats are unlikely to let up on it, and a growing chorus of Republicans is expressing outrage about Trump’s role in inciting the violence,” he said.
“As the images of what transpired on Capitol Hill last week proliferate and sink in with the electorate, disgust will grow and Trump will be marginalized further and further in the closing days of his administration, especially given he is shut out of many of the platforms available to him to communicate directly with his supporters.”
The president may have lost his beloved Twitter account for now, but he still has the White House briefing room at his disposal and a press corps ready to report his words.
Aides spent Monday debating whether Trump should deliver an address on what they see as social media efforts to silence a sitting president and discussing how best to use his final days in office.
That could include an event to celebrate his work to rebuild the nation’s armed forces and strengthen the economy, trumpeting the fact that the Dow Jones is up 56% since he took office.
Opponents question whether Trump was responsible for creating jobs or boosting the stock market when they both proved buoyant under Obama, and they say both were undermined by a hamfisted response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Already finalized is a trip to Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday. Trump is expected to praise work to build 450 miles of border wall along the frontier with Mexico in line with his most famous 2016 election promise.
A senior administration official said: “The trip to Texas this week is part of our effort to highlight that the president has kept his promises to the American people. If you ask anyone the first thing that drew them to President Trump was to build a ‘big, beautiful wall’ on the southern border.
“He’s done just that.”
It means the president will be out of Washington on the day that the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a resolution demanding that Vice President Mike Pence use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump. And a day before, members will consider an article of impeachment.
But even as he flies across the country, there will still be reminders of the extraordinary end to Trump’s time at the White House.
Although he said it was because of legal challenges to his authority as acting secretary, he was one of the most outspoken members of the Cabinet in denouncing the attack on the Capitol and called on the president to do the same.
Original Author: Rob Crilly