Washington: President Donald Trump is leaving the White House but he is not going to fade away quietly.
After failing in his legal efforts to overturn his Nov. 3 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, who on Monday won the state-by-state Electoral College vote that formally determines the U.S. presidency, Trump will re-enter private life on Jan. 20 with an array of opportunities.
They include another White House run in 2024 or new pursuits in media. But they are clouded by potential legal jeopardy and business challenges.
Only one thing is certain: Trump’s thirst for the spotlight will ensure he does not follow in the footsteps of past presidents like George W. Bush, who quietly took up painting, or Jimmy Carter and his global activism.
Trump’s future, like his presidency, is likely to be loud, brash and brazen. It will also not be entirely under his control. He faces a range of civil and criminal legal actions related to his family’s businesses and his activities before he took office, which could accelerate once he loses the legal protections granted to the occupant of the Oval Office.
The real estate developer-turned-reality TV star is considering multiple maneuvers to retain the spotlight.
Trump, who has refused to concede his election defeat and continues to make baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, has told allies he is considering another White House bid.
He has even discussed not attending Biden’s inauguration and announcing his 2024 run that day, a move that would allow him to continue the raucous campaign rallies he thrived on in 2016 and 2020.
That would complicate life for a long list of other Republicans considering a 2024 run – including Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senators Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton – who would have to weigh whether to take on Trump.
But it would be the sort of norm-busting move Trump relishes. The U.S. Constitution allows presidents to be elected to office twice and the terms do not have to be consecutive.
Grover Cleveland is the only American president to serve two nonconsecutive terms. He left the White House in 1889 after being defeated for re-election and returned in 1893.
Trump has already formed a political action committee that will allow him to raise money and exert influence in the party after he leaves office, whether he becomes a candidate or not.
Trump’s desire to retain his political influence also was evident in his recent endorsement of close ally Ronna McDaniel for another term as Republican National Committee chairwoman.
RNC members will vote in late January on whether to keep McDaniel as chair in an early test of how powerful Trump remains and how willing Republicans are to subjugate the party to his wishes.
The former star of reality series The Apprentice, Trump has also discussed several possible new media ventures to keep him in the spotlight, advisers said, including a television channel or a social media company to compete with those he felt betrayed him.