Twice impeached, twice acquitted, Donald J. Trump dodged bullets twice in connection with his Presidency. Now that he’s out of office, and can no longer claim the protection of being a sitting president, what lies in store for him?
First, we have to realize that Trump absolutely lacks any sense of shame or a moral anchor. His megalomania and his extreme form of narcissistic personality disorder make clear that he only cares about himself. Having lived in a childhood with an emotionally-absent mother and a psychologically-abusive father, Trump was trained from birth to be an unaccountable, lying, sniveling rich brat, one whose character deficiencies have continued to worsen with age. Nothing he does will benefit America.
Secondly, a very large group of supporters, Trump’s so-called “base,” have been duped into following his cult of personality so that Trumpism almost has a theological tincture to it. His views of what it takes to “Make America Great” are repugnant to anyone with an ounce of decency, common humanity, and reason to their name.
Those of us on the progressive side of the political spectrum hoped that he would be convicted in his second impeachment trial. Not surprisingly, the 43 cowardly Republicans — accomplices — who voted to acquit Trump will have permanent stains on their moral character, but they don’t care because of their fear of losing their jobs, of being attacked by Trump’s base, of being subjected to Trump’s primary attacks in the 2022 and 2024 elections. They allowed Trump to get off, scot-free, from his incitement to commit insurrection and his attacks on American democracy, both on and long before January 6, 2021.
What Will Make Trump Accountable?
The only things that register with Trump are recognition in the form of adulation, and large sums of money coming under his control.
With respect to Trump’s need for ego-burnishing, his frequent rallies and the panegyric expressions of praise from the sycophants around him and in the Ministry of Propaganda, aka Fox News, served to buffer his ego quite nicely over the years. They have given him a sense of acceptance and approval, and justified his claim that he was a victim of “fake news.” (Considering the unlimited amount of bovine ordure generated by Fox News and others of its ilk, Trump — without the slightest sense of irony — was correct in referring to “fake news.” He was merely incorrect in stating where it came from….)
So, now that Trump has lost his Twitter and Facebook accounts, and is unable to access other social media platforms, he will have to look into other ways of getting media attention. That will no doubt be something he explores with great interest in the coming months, but it will not necessarily come from ways appealing to his need for ego-suckling.
The second way to make Trump accountable is to hit him in the pocketbook, and — hopefully — to curtail his freedom.
Since Trump is no longer shielded by being an incumbent President, there are a number of legal challenges he must face.
Businesses and Organizations Severing Their Ties With Trump
The Trump Organization is a minority (30%) partner of Vornado Realty Trust, a massive real estate investment organization headquartered in New York. It appears that VRT is trying to force the sale of the Trump Organization’s interest back to VRT, at a heavy discount. This would hurt Trump’s overall cash position, although it would help him deal with the over $300 million in debt he owes to Deutsche Bank and $11 million in debt owed to Signature Bank.
SAG-AFTRA was about to terminate Trump from its ranks, but Trump resigned first, to which the SAG-AFTRA union replied “Thank you.”
New York City is cutting its ties with the Trump Organization, which runs two ice-skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park, as well as a golf course in the Bronx. This will result in a loss of $17 million a year to the Trump Organization.
The PGA has withdrawn from holding its 2022 championship from Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey golf club. The loss of prestige from losing the Championship supposedly bothered Trump far more than the second impeachment trial.
Deutchse Bank, Signature Bank, and Professional Bank have (or are about to have) severed their ties to the Trump Organization, as well as to Trump.
The Girl Scouts of America are actively trying to terminate their lease in The Trump Building, located at 40 Wall St. in Manhattan.
Cushman & Wakefield, a huge real estate firm, was an agent for the Trump Organization, but not any more.
Likewise, JLL, a large real estate brokerage in Washington, D.C., is no long involved in marketing the Trump Hotel in Washington.
Shopify closed the Trump Organization’s store and the e-commerce section of Trump’s election website. This will cut off cash flow in case he decides to run again in the future.
Aon, a large insurance brokerage, was subpoenaed in 2019 by New York’s financial regulator as the result of Michael Cohen’s allegation that Trump had inflated the value of his assets.
Lawsuits are pending by Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, for probate fraud; by E. Jean Carroll, for defamation in the aftermath of her rape lawsuit; and by Summer Zervos, also for defamation in the aftermath of her suit for sexual assault while she was a contestant on Trump’s old TV show, The Apprentice.
Where it should really get interesting is if the family of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick files a massive lawsuit against Trump for wrongful death in inciting the insurrection that resulted in Officer Sicknick’s death when he was hit on the head with a fire extinguisher.
Then, both the Smartmatic and Dominion voting machine lawsuits for billions of dollars should likewise join Trump as a defendant, since it was Trump who kept falsely claiming about voter fraud, charges which were repeatedly broadcast by Fox News.
What should be his greatest fear would be his loss of freedom and possible jail time.
There is a state criminal investigation against Trump for threatening state officials with criminal prosecution if they refused to participate in election fraud. Likewise, the Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, has started her own criminal prosecution and will convene a Grand Jury in March 2021 to look into Trump’s criminal behavior.
The District Attorney has launched a criminal investigation into Trump’s incitement to riot/commit insurrection on January 6, 2021, in which six people died.
Additionally, the District Attorney is continuing with his campaign funds spending abuse case involving “gross overpayment” for Inauguration billings (including massive payments to Ivanka Trump) for the 2017 Inauguration.
Manhattan’s District Attorney, Cy Vance, is going after Trump for tax fraud, business fraud, and insurance fraud.
New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, may prosecute Trump for tax fraud, business fraud, insurance fraud, and charitable fraud.
Although Trump has been deemed to be an “employee” of the Trump Organization, entitled to live at Mar-a-Lago, a number of neighbors are exploring the possibility of suing Trump for breaching a contract he signed in 1993 in which Mar-a-Lago got generous tax breaks (which are still being received to this day) in exchange for a promise that no one would be entitled to reside at the club.
Prosecution for Trump’s crimes will take inordinate amounts of time, particularly when considering (A) the COVID-19 situation, and (B) the vast amount of criminality that needs to be investigated, put into the form of either indictments or informations, and then arranged so that the order of prosecution is agreed upon by all concerned jurisdictions.
With regard to civil litigation, that, too, proceeds at a glacial pace. Trump is rapidly approaching the age of 75. At the earliest, he might well be in his mid-80s before his suits get to trial.
It would probably be best if the New York prosecutions went forward first, along with the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Capitol Police Officer Sicknick’s family. In that way, there would be the greatest possibility of putting Trump behind bars and losing his money. With both criminal convictions and civil verdicts against him, Trump would — finally — be given the title “Loser” which he has sought to avoid all his life, an epitaph for a shady and shoddy existence with no meaning except as a cosmic lesson in the fundamental reality:
Karma’s a bitch!