NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Donald Trump may have lost the White House, but the ex-president will almost certainly take the show on the road. An army of Twitter followers and favorable coverage from right-wing media like Fox News will ensure an audience after he departs 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That will serve his many interests, from protecting his businesses to acting as a thorn in the side of his successor.
A pandemic and long lines didn’t stop Americans from giving former Vice President Joe Biden enough votes to occupy the Oval Office from Jan. 20. Historically ex-presidents fade into the background. But America’s 45th leader has defied convention from the start of his run five years ago. There’s every reason to believe he will continue to buck tradition and seek the spotlight as a private citizen.
For starters, Trump will be back at the helm of his family firm, a portfolio of hotels, country clubs and residential properties. Those assets were already hurting, according to Trump’s 2019 financial disclosures. That was before the pandemic slammed travel and leisure. Sales have fallen at some of The Trump Organization’s marquee destinations in Florida like Mar-a-Lago and a golf resort in Doral.
Getting visitors in the door will be a top priority as The Trump Organization will need to pay off some of its debt in the coming years. Deutsche Bank, which has loaned the firm $340 million personally guaranteed by Trump, is looking to sever ties with the president, Reuters reported.
Trump’s personal Twitter account has 88 million followers, while his favored cable network Fox News crowed during its most recent earnings on election day that it was the highest-rated TV channel for four months straight. Trump has enthralled other media outlets like One America News Network. There has long been speculation he might establish his own machine.
Trump’s pronouncements will no longer carry the power of policy, so mainstream media outlets can ignore them, as many did when he broadcast allegations of voter fraud in the middle of vote-counting. But the former reality-TV star and property developer will continue to have a bullhorn to hawk his brand and political views. Trump needled Barack Obama while he was in office, so it’s a fair bet he’ll do the same to Biden. The Donald Trump show will refuse to be canceled.
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