Melania Trump will become the first modern first lady not to invite the woman who will replace her to the White House for a walk-through of the private living quarters on the second and third floors.
From Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower’s meeting, to the visit Laura Bush hosted where Jenna and Barbara Bush showed Sasha and Malia Obama how to slide down the banister in the Residence, to the visit where Michelle Obama invited Melania Trump even after Donald Trump had questioned her husband’s citizenship, this tradition has long been one of the first lady’s many unwritten obligations. And Melania Trump has discarded it.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Melania Trump has flouted a social norm of her position. Every one-term president — and his wife — have felt the sting of defeat, but unlike her husband, none of them have refused to accept the election results.
Read the full article.
A network of far-right agitators across the country spent weeks organizing and raising money for a mass action to overturn President Trump’s election loss.
Keith Lee, an Air Force veteran and former police detective, spent the morning of Jan. 6 casing the entrances to the Capitol.
In online videos, the 41-year-old Texan pointed out the flimsiness of the fencing. He cheered the arrival, long before President Trump’s rally at the other end of the mall, of far-right militiamen encircling the building. Then, armed with a bullhorn, Mr. Lee called out for the mob to rush in, until his voice echoed from the dome of the Rotunda.
Yet even in the heat of the event, Mr. Lee paused for some impromptu fund-raising. “If you couldn’t make the trip, give five to 10 bucks,” he told his viewers, seeking donations for the legal costs of two jailed “patriots,” a leader of the far-right Proud Boys and an ally who had clashed with the police during an armed incursion at Oregon’s statehouse.
Much is still unknown about the planning and financing of the storming of the Capitol, aiming to challenge Mr. Trump’s electoral defeat. What is clear is that it was driven, in part, by a largely ad hoc network of low-budget agitators, including far-right militants, Christian conservatives and ardent adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Mr. Lee is all three. And the sheer breadth of the movement he joined suggests it may be far more difficult to confront than a single organization.
In the months leading up to the riot, Mr. Lee had helped organize a series of pro-Trump car caravans around the country, including one that temporarily blockaded a Biden campaign bus in Texas and another that briefly shut down a Hudson River bridge in the New York City suburbs. To help pay for dozens of caravans to meet at the Jan. 6 rally, he had teamed up with an online fund-raiser in Tampa, Fla., who secured money from small donors and claimed to pass out tens of thousands of dollars.
Theirs was one of many grass-roots efforts to bring Trump supporters to the Capitol, often amid calls for revolution, if not outright violence. On an online ride-sharing forum, Patriot Caravans for 45, more than 4,000 members coordinated travel from as far away as California and South Dakota. Some 2,000 people donated at least $181,700 to another site, Wild Protest, leaving messages urging ralliers to halt the certification of the vote.
Oath Keepers, a self-identified militia whose members breached the Capitol, had solicited donations online to cover “gas, airfare, hotels, food and equipment.” Many others raised money through the crowdfunding site GoFundMe or, more often, its explicitly Christian counterpart, GiveSendGo. (On Monday, the money transfer service PayPal stopped working with GiveSendGo because of its links to the violence at the Capitol.)
A few prominent firebrands, an opaque pro-Trump nonprofit and at least one wealthy donor had campaigned for weeks to amplify the president’s false claims about his defeat, stoking the anger of his supporters.
A chief sponsor of many rallies leading up to the riot, including the one featuring the president on Jan. 6, was Women for America First, a conservative nonprofit. Its leaders include Amy Kremer, who rose to prominence in the Tea Party movement, and her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, 30. She started a “Stop the Steal” Facebook page on Nov. 4. More than 320,000 people signed up in less than a day, but the platform promptly shut it down for fears of inciting violence. The group has denied any violent intent.
By far the most visible financial backer of Women for America First’s efforts was Mike Lindell, a founder of the MyPillow bedding company, identified on a now-defunct website as one of the “generous sponsors” of a bus tour promoting Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn the election. In addition, he was an important supporter of Right Side Broadcasting, an obscure pro-Trump television network that provided blanket coverage of Trump rallies after the vote, and a podcast run by the former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon that also sponsored the bus tour.
“I put everything I had into the last three weeks, financial and everything,” Mr. Lindell said in a mid-December television interview.
In a tweet the same month, he urged Mr. Trump to “impose martial law” to seize ballots and voting machines. Through a representative, Mr. Lindell said he only supported the bus tour “prior to December 14th” and was not a financial sponsor of any events after that, including the rally on Jan. 6. He continues to stand by the president’s claims and met with Mr. Trump at the White House on Friday.
By late December, the president himself was injecting volatility into the organizing efforts, tweeting an invitation to a Washington rally that would take place as Congress gathered to certify the election results.
“Be there, will be wild!” Mr. Trump wrote.
The next day, a new website, Wild Protest, was registered and quickly emerged as an organizing hub for the president’s most zealous supporters. It appeared to be connected to Ali Alexander, a conspiracy theorist who vowed to stop the certification by “marching hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of patriots to sit their butts in D.C. and close that city down.”
Mr. Alexander could not be reached for comment, but in a video posted to Twitter last week, he denied any responsibility for the violence.
While other groups like Women for America First were promoting the rally where Mr. Trump would speak — at the Ellipse, about a mile west of the Capitol — the Wild Protest website directed Trump supporters to a different location: the doorsteps of Congress.
Wild Protest linked to three hotels with discounted rates and another site for coordinating travel plans. It also raised donations from thousands of individuals, according to archived versions of a web portal used to collect them. The website has since been taken down, and it is not clear what the money was used for.
“The time for words has passed, action alone will save our Republic,” a user donating $250 wrote, calling congressional certification of the vote “treasonous.”
Another contributor gave $47 and posted: “Fight to win our country back using whatever means necessary.”
Mr. Lee, who sought to raise legal-defense money the morning before the riot, did not respond to requests for comment. He has often likened supporters of overturning the election to the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and has said he is willing to give his life for the cause.
A sales manager laid off at an equipment company because of the pandemic, he has said that he grew up as a conservative Christian in East Texas. Air Force records show that he enlisted a month after the Sept. 11 attacks and served for four years, leaving as a senior airman. Later, in 2011 and 2012, he worked for a private security company at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
In between, he also worked as a police detective in McKinney, Texas.
He had never been politically active, he has said. But during Mr. Trump’s presidency, Mr. Lee began to immerse himself in the online QAnon conspiracy theory. Its adherents hold that Mr. Trump is trying to save America from a shadowy ring of pedophiles who control the government and the Democratic Party. Mr. Lee has said that resonated with his experience dealing with child crimes as a police officer.
His active support for Mr. Trump began last August when he organized a caravan of drivers from around the state to show their support for the president by circling the capital, Austin. That led him to found a website, MAGA Drag the Interstate, to organize Trump caravans around the country.
By December, Mr. Lee had achieved enough prominence that he was included in a roster of speakers at a news conference preceding a “March for Trump” rally in Washington.
“We are at this precipice” of “good versus evil,” Mr. Lee declared. “I am going to fight for my president. I am going to fight for what is right.”
He threw himself into corralling fellow “patriots” to meet in Washington on Jan. 6, and at the end of last month he began linking his website with the Tampa organizer to raise money for participants’ travel.
The fund-raiser, who has identified himself as a web designer named Thad Williams, has said in a podcast that sexual abuse as a child eventually led him to the online world of QAnon.
While others “made of steel” are cut out to be “warriors against evil” and “covered in the blood and sweat of that part,” Mr. Williams said, he sees himself as more of “a chaplain and a healer.” In 2019, he set up a website to raise money for QAnon believers to travel to Trump rallies. He could not be reached for comment.
By the gathering at the Capitol, he claimed to have raised and distributed at least $30,000 for transportation costs. Expressions of thanks posted on Twitter appear to confirm that he allocated money, and a day after the assault the online services PayPal and Stripe shut down his accounts.
Mr. Lee’s MAGA Drag the Interstate site, for its part, said it had organized car caravans of more than 600 people bound for the rally. It used military-style shorthand to designate routes in different regions across the country, from Alpha to Zulu, and a logo on the site combined Mr. Trump’s distinctive hairstyle with Pepe the Frog, a symbol of the alt-right that has been used by white supremacists.
Participants traded messages about where to park together overnight on the streets of Washington. Some arranged midnight rendezvous at highway rest stops or Waffle House restaurants to drive together on the morning of the rally.
On the evening of Jan. 5, Mr. Lee broadcast a video podcast from a crowd of chanting Trump supporters in the Houston airport, waiting to board a flight to Washington. “We are there for a show of force,” he promised, suggesting he anticipated street fights even before dawn. “Gonna see if we can do a little playing in the night.”
A co-host of the podcast — a self-described Army veteran from Washington State — appealed for donations to raise $250,000 bail money for Chandler Pappas, 27.
Two weeks earlier in Salem, Ore., during a protest against Covid-19 restrictions, Mr. Pappas had sprayed six police officers with mace while leading an incursion into the State Capitol building and carrying a semiautomatic rifle, according to a police report. Mr. Pappas, whose lawyer did not return a phone call seeking comment, had been linked to the far-right Proud Boys and an allied local group called Patriot Prayer.
“American citizens feel like they’ve been attacked. Fear’s reaction is anger, anger’s reaction is patriotism and voilà — you get a war,” said Mr. Lee’s co-host, who gave his name as Rampage.
He directed listeners to donate to the bail fund through GiveSendGo, and thanked them for helping to raise $100,000 through the same site for the legal defense of Enrique Tarrio, a leader of the Proud Boys who is accused of vandalizing a historically Black church in Washington.
By 10:45 a.m. the next day, more than an hour before Mr. Trump spoke, Mr. Lee was back online broadcasting footage of himself at the Capitol.
“If you died today and you went to heaven, can you look George Washington in the face and say that you’ve fought for this country?” he asked.
By noon, he was reporting that “backup” was already arriving, bypassing the Trump speech and rally. The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were among the groups that went directly to the Capitol.
“Guys, we got the Three Percent here! The Three Percent here that loves this country and wants to fight!” Mr. Lee reported a little later, referring to another militant group. “We need to surround this place.”
Backed by surging crowds, Mr. Lee had made his way into the Rotunda and by 3 p.m. — after a fellow assailant had been shot, police officers had been injured and local authorities were pleading for help — he was back outside using his megaphone to urge others into the building. “If we do it together,” he insisted, “there’s no violence!”
When he knew that lawmakers had evacuated, he declared victory: “We have done our job,” he shouted.
Reporting was contributed by Kitty Bennett, Stella Cooper, Cora Engelbrecht, Sheera Frenkel and Haley Willis.
Video production by Ainara Tiefenthäler.
About a third of all private Christian K-12 schools in the country — roughly 2,400 of them — use textbooks published by Abeka, BJU Press, or Accelerated Christian Education.
That’s especially troubling when you see how they’re covering recent politics.
HuffPost reporter Rebecca Klein looked at textbooks from Abeka and BJU Press, and their coverage of politics reads just like a post from a right-wing website.
One passage in an 11th-grade U.S. history textbook from Abeka states, “Although many false philosophies were popular in America before 2000, the new millennium heralded a dramatic acceptance of immoral ideology on a national scale. … Three such philosophies are globalism, environmentalism, and postmodernism.”
“Believing religion — particularly Christianity — to be divisive, globalists discourage its influence on public life,” it continues.
Here’s another passage from an Abeka history book concerning the Obama era:
“Many Americans’ views about race relations had improved at the time that Obama was inaugurated. Unfortunately, Americans’ views of race relations declined after Obama came into office. Race riots in places such as Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, greatly escalated racial tensions and worsened strife between minorities and local police. President Obama’s attempts to resolve these problems often seemed to make the situation worse.”
There’s no mention of why people were rioting in those cities or any mention of the role of law enforcement.
And here’s a similar passage from a BJU Press book:
“Despite President Obama’s call for racial harmony, his eight-year term of office saw an intensification of racial discord. Several controversial shootings of black men led to protests, some of which were violent and destructive with black communities bearing the brunt of most of the destruction. Groups such as Black Lives Matter sharpened the divide between police and citizens, and black and white, with divisive rhetoric. Mixed messages from the Obama administration, the Department of Justice in particular, seemed to increase the racial discord.”
Why were those shootings controversial? WHO KNOWS! But Black Lives Matter is the problem.
You expect this kind of thoughtless, nuance-free analysis from conservative bloggers, right-wing TV hosts, or whatever the hell Eric Metaxas is these days. But when something is in a textbook, students often treat it as fact. These beliefs were readily seen during last week’s attack at the Capitol, and it’s clear that indoctrinating children in this brand of Christian Nationalism is the goal of these publishers.
Christians have no hope of being part of the solution when their own schools are brainwashing kids with this garbage. Even Donald Trump is treated like a savior and fighter for Christians and not someone who rode a wave of disinformation into power thanks to a political party with no regard for truth or decency. He’s described in one textbook as someone “whose determination and bombastic mannerisms gave Republicans the fighter they wanted,” as if his racism, insult-comic-humor, and ignorance weren’t also appealing to those voters.
How do you undo this much damage when these kids get older?
There’s really no way to fix any of this either. There’s a reason public schools reject these books — they’re not reliable — but there’s nothing stopping Christian schools from using them. Unless parents or responsible administrators decide they want their kids to get educated instead of brainwashed, these publishers will continue rewriting history to serve their own purposes.
President Trump will leave Washington this week politically wounded, silenced on social media and essentially unwelcome in his lifelong hometown of New York.
By migrating instead to Palm Beach, Fla., Trump plans to inhabit an alternative reality of adoration and affirmation. The defeated president will take up residence at his gilded Mar-a-Lago Club, where dues-paying members applaud him whenever he eats meals or mingles on the deck. He is sure to take in the same celebratory fervor whenever he plays golf at one of the two Trump-branded courses nearby.
In Florida — one of only two top battleground states Trump won in November — Trump will be living in a veritable MAGA oasis, to use the acronym for his “Make American Great Again” campaign slogan. South Florida has fast become a hub of right-wing power brokers and media characters, and some of Trump’s adult children are making plans to move to the area.
Even as Trump broods privately over his second impeachment this past week and the election he continues to falsely insist he won, his aides are at work to establish a Trump fiefdom in the Sunshine State aimed at maintaining his influence over Republican politics, according to allies and advisers, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.
Some of Trump’s associates are buzzing about a possible presidential library and museum — likely located, yes, in Florida — and about the birth of a family dynasty, should his children, Donald Jr. or Ivanka, someday run for political office. Florida is seen as a better launchpad for the Trumps than New York, given the outgoing president’s popularity in the former. Some in Trump’s orbit are talking up the idea of Ivanka possibly running for Senate in 2022, when the term of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will be up.
Trump has become something of a pariah in the nation’s capital of Washington and its financial center of New York in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol that he incited, but Florida offers him a place to try to rehabilitate himself.
Newsmax chief executive Christopher Ruddy, a longtime Trump friend and Mar-a-Lago member, predicted that the president would remain a powerful force in politics and the media regardless of his current woes.
“We don’t know what legal issues are going to arise, but discounting those, I think he’s going to remain a global force,” Ruddy said. “I think he’s going to like being post-president more than he liked being president, because you have a lot of the perks without as many of the restrictions.”
Trump may have imagined a mischief-making, mega-rally farewell — complete with a tease about reclaiming the White House in 2024 — to draw attention from President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and to remind fellow Republicans that he still rules the roost.
But there will be no such grand departure in the wake of the Capitol insurrection.
Trump instead is winding down his presidency largely out of public view, though he still intends to take some actions in his four days remaining as president. There remain sharp disputes among the president and his advisers about a final round of pardons he may issue, including for members of the Trump family, according to people familiar with the discussions. The president continues to talk about wanting to pardon himself, they said.
The White House is a fortress guarded by armed military ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration and now practically deserted. “It looks like a war zone around here,” one official said.
[Trump is isolated and angry at aides for failing to defend him as he is impeached again]
Aides spent last week boxing up their offices and desks — White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s wife, Debbie, was spotted packing a taxidermy bird into an SUV. Aides posed for goodbye photos; snared oversized framed snapshots of Trump’s presidency from West Wing walls; and scavenged for challenge coins and other mementos.
Staffers stood on West Executive Drive for a big send-off Thursday for Larry Kudlow, the National Economic Council director and one of the most well-liked figures in the West Wing.
Four years of roaring commotion are ending in a whimper. An aggrieved Trump has told aides he is uninterested in doing ceremonial events, a senior administration official said.
Other than flying last Tuesday to Texas to autograph a piece of the soaring steel border wall his administration constructed, Trump has demurred on suggestions from advisers to spend his final days touting his achievements and attempting to burnish his legacy.
Rather, Trump has been consumed with anger over his impeachment Wednesday by the House for inciting the Capitol riot, advisers said. He is also upset by the silence from many of his most vigorous defenders, and is nursing feelings of betrayal from Republican congressional leaders, they said.
As aides visited with him to say goodbye and take farewell pictures, Trump complained bitterly about Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and other Republicans who voted to impeach him. “They’ll have primaries, all of them,” one aide recalled Trump saying Thursday.
Homing in on Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), who voted for impeachment, the president referred to himself in the third person and remarked, “You can’t vote against Trump in South Carolina,” according to the aide, who like some others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations.
Some aides have tried to explain to Trump that these and many other members of Congress are angry about the attack and scared for their lives, but the president has often returned to his popularity among Republican voters in their districts and has shown no remorse for his role in the riot, two officials said.
[The president as pariah: Trump faces a torrent of retribution over his role in Capitol siege]
Aides said Trump has occasionally brought up the Georgia Senate races unprompted with them, arguing that he is not to blame for the two Republicans, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, losing their seats in the Jan. 5 runoff elections — and that the candidates, particularly Loeffler, were bad.
Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer, said the president’s state of victimhood fits the narrative he has concocted for his entire life.
“This is the end that he would have scripted for himself, actually,” D’Antonio said. “He has always imagined himself as an embattled person. He’s talked about life itself being a constant struggle for survival and how he’s surrounded by enemies . . . that the world conspires against him and that he is a lonely hero who is underappreciated and besieged.”
One of Trump’s final Oval Office visitors was Mike Lindell, the My Pillow founder and television pitchman, who showed up Friday afternoon brandishing notes that he said were from a lawyer, whom he would not identify, advising to institute “martial law” and install Trump loyalist Kash Patel in CIA leadership.
Lindell, a vociferous supporter of the president, spent the afternoon at the White House but said in an interview that he left unsatisfied. “I had to make an appointment like everyone else,” he said. “People were lined up to see him.”
Lindell claimed ignorance about the contents of the memo, which was partially captured by a Washington Post photographer as Lindell waited to enter the White House.
“I didn’t know what was in it,” he said. “I didn’t know who some of the people even were.” He explained that the unnamed lawyer asked him, “If you get a meeting, can you drop this off?”
Lindell said he presented his information to the president for about five minutes before Trump referred him to the White House Counsel’s Office. He also argued that China and Russia hacked the election, bringing a false article from the American Report, a conspiracy-theory right-wing website, as his evidence.
Lindell said he has been working with a large team to try to prove widespread voter fraud and falsely argued that Trump had won by 11 million votes. “I have spent a lot of money and gone down every rabbit hole in this country,” he said.
But Lindell said Trump was noncommittal on what he would do with the information and told him to talk to the lawyers, who were dismissive and argued with him.
“They were skeptical,” Lindell said. “They were disinterested, very disinterested. They are giving the president the wrong advice.”
He said the lawyers did not allow him to see Trump again.
[Inside the remarkable rift between Donald Trump and Mike Pence]
With Trump cocooned in the White House, Vice President Pence has looked more like the commander in chief. He visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters last week for a briefing on inauguration security preparations and visited with National Guard soldiers stationed at the Capitol.
On Saturday, Pence departed on a two-day trip to Naval Air Station Lemoore in California and Fort Drum in New York to personally thank service members and to tout the administration’s foreign policy achievements.
Trump is leaving office with his popularity at one of the lowest points of his presidency. Just 38 percent of Americans approve of his job performance and 60 percent disapprove, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted after the Capitol attack and released Friday. The survey found that 15 percent said Trump would be remembered by history as an “outstanding” president, while 48 percent said he would be remembered as “poor” and 11 percent as “below average.”
Trump, who has refused to participate in traditional transfer-of-power rituals, plans to leave Washington on Wednesday morning, just before Biden is inaugurated. Trump instead will stage his own departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews before his final trip aboard Air Force One. A military ceremony is being planned similar to the receptions visiting dignitaries receive for state visits.
In New York, residents have long shunned him and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) last week announced the city was terminating its contracts with the Trump Organization because of the Capitol insurrection.
[Backlash to Capitol riot hobbles Trump’s business as banks, partners flee the brand]
But in Florida, Trump looks to be surrounded by supporters, including some of his adult children.
Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, are shopping for a house in Jupiter, Fla., about 15 miles from Palm Beach, according to a person familiar with their plans, confirming a New York Post report. Trump Jr.’s ex-wife, Vanessa, and their five children moved to the area last year, this person said.
Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, both White House senior advisers, recently purchased land owned by pop star Julio Iglesias in Indian Creek, a gated private island near Miami that is home to celebrities, business figures and professional athletes, including Jay-Z, Beyoncé and football star Tom Brady.
Daughter Tiffany Trump also is shopping for property in Miami, according to Page Six.
Trump will have a small post-presidential staff working for him in Florida, including a trio of White House aides — Cassidy Hutchinson, Nick Luna and Molly Michael — according to an administration official, who confirmed a Bloomberg report.
South Florida is home to talk-radio stars Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, conservative commentator Ann Coulter and several Fox personalities, including Geraldo Rivera and Dan Bongino. And at least two of Trump’s Cabinet members — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson — have homes in South Florida.
Broward and Palm Beach counties also are home to a growing number of Republican direct-mail firms as well as server farms and other companies that handle back-end processing for conservative digital operations.
And Newsmax — whose cable channel has seen a surge in viewers in recent months as Trump, angry over Fox News Channel’s coverage of the election and its aftermath, has urged his fans to migrate — is headquartered in West Palm Beach.
“It’s sort of like his home state, in a way,” Ruddy said. “There’s a lot of New Yorkers there, a lot of personal friends he has that live down there. It’s a New York environment.”
[Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after mob stormed Capitol]
In addition, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, whose show Trump regularly watches despite their sharply critical assessments of him and attacks, spend time in South Florida and sometimes broadcast their show from there.
Rick Wilson, a longtime Republican strategist in Florida who is a senior adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, explained the state’s appeal to Trump — including that Florida’s Republican base is especially “Trumpy.”
“It fits in with Florida’s overall character of being the magnet for all insanity in the universe,” Wilson said. “We are what we are in the great state of Florida, and that is a state of lives restarting and second-chances and reboots and low property taxes and liberal bankruptcy laws and a fairly casual approach to public ethics. Florida, in some freakish, horrible way, is the Trumpiest of states. This is the logical place for them to come.”
Trump has floated a 2024 bid and his campaign and the Republican Party raised more than $200 million after the election with fundraising bids to help overturn it. Much of that money will go to Save America, a leadership PAC Trump set up after the election that will allow him to support candidates and maintain political influence after leaving office.
Speculation is also coursing through Trump World about a possible presidential library and museum. No announcements have been made, but two people familiar with internal discussions said it is likely to be located in Florida and run by Dan Scavino, one of Trump’s longest-serving and most loyal aides who advises him on social media and most recently served as deputy White House chief of staff.
One of these people, who was a top fundraiser on Trump’s campaign, said the president has told supporters he wants to raise $2 billion for the library — a far greater sum than has been raised for past presidential libraries — and thinks he can collect it in small-dollar donations from his grass-roots supporters.
“I thought to myself, what is this alternative fantasy life you’re living?” this fundraiser said. “I have no clue where they think they’ll get this money raised. Anyone who gives to him will be radioactive.”
[Trump leaves behind a Republican Party both broken and still in his grip]
Asked about raising money for the library, another former top Trump fundraiser wrote in a text message: “Insane.” This person noted that, “except for the wackos, everybody’s running for the hills.”
The mood in the West Wing has been generally dour, aides said, with many deeply upset over the president’s actions on Jan. 6 and frantically searching to find a job.
Aides said Trump has been working only sporadically in the Oval Office, spending a lot of time lately in the residence. He also has been bouncing around the West Wing taking pictures with departing staffers.
One senior administration official who visited with the president last week described his mood as decent. But when asked whether it seemed like he had made peace with the fact that his presidency was coming to an end, this official said, “I doubt it. It’s probably just like a moment there.”