To watch what he does (or, more accurately, doesn’t do) in his waning days in the White House suggests that Trump has already folded his tent — effectively not even trying to do the job that he supposedly so badly wants to keep.
Trump’s behavior in the five weeks — to the day! — since the November 3 election evokes nothing so much as spring semester for a senior in high school. He’s only kind of, sort of, paying attention. He does the things he wants to do and ignores the rest. He settles scores. You know, the usual high school stuff.
And that’s it. Less than one pooled event every three days since the November election. Which is not, uh, what one might call a packed schedule.
So, what has Trump been doing?
For one, giving out awards to friends and supporters.
“He won 117 consecutive matches and lost only one. Well, you know, in politics, I won two, so I’m two and oh. And that’s pretty good, too. But we’ll see how that turns out.”
To be clear: Throughout his four years in office, Trump has demonstrated that there are a few parts of the job he likes (signing things, campaign speeches, personnel machinations) and a lot of the job he could care less about (pretty much everything else).
It’s just that where he might have tried to feign interest in those latter areas before, he has totally given up any pretense of interest in them now.
For example: Trump was never really big on the whole Covid-19 pandemic. He long dismissed the threat the virus posed to the United States and, once it arrived here, downplayed its virulence and the need to take active measures to mitigate it. He perked up, briefly, when he realized that he could command the attention of the nation with press conferences that were ostensibly to discuss the inner workings of his coronavirus task force but wound up being simply the Trump show.
But once people wised up to what he was doing and began to tune out, Trump, again, lost interest.
Trump seems to have forgotten that when he won in 2016, he was obligated to serve all the way through January 20, 2021 — no matter what the results of the November 2020 election were. His handling of the presidency post-election seems to suggest that his ongoing (and failing) fight to overturn the results is far more about him wanting to win than about his desire to keep doing the job to which he was originally elected.