President Donald Trump is a reality television host whose career is in its death throes, and all of the post-election drama is Trump’s way of closing out the series that encompassed his presidency.
On Friday morning, New York Magazine‘s Olivia Nuzzi explained to CNN’s John Berman that Trump’s kryptonite is not losing, but quitting.
“One Trump insider told reporter Olivia Nuzzi, quote, ‘He wants to lose, he’s out of money, he’s worried about being arrested, he’s worried about being assassinated,’ they said. ‘It hasn’t been a great experience for him. He liked showing people around the White House, but the actual day-to-day business of being president, it’s been pretty unpleasant for him.’ Joining us now is Olivia Nuzzi. This is one heck of an article and a few amazing quotes that have drawn so much attention. In that one quote we read, there’s like six things that I want to dive into there. ‘He wants to lose.’ What does that mean?” Berman asked.
“This is something that Trump’s friends and allies and even some White House staffers have speculated about for a long time – that he’s not happy as president, that even though he might like the status that being president provides, he doesn’t actually enjoy the job. He doesn’t enjoy performing typical presidential duties. He finds it rather boring. And that he doesn’t really want to keep on doing this,” said Nuzzi. “And often during the campaign, when he would give a particularly lackluster performance at a rally, say, or if he seemed to be in particularly bad spirits, this is something that White House staffers and campaign staffers and people outside of the formal Trump apparatus would speculate about.”
Berman pointed out that Trump also worries about being arrested once he leaves office, which is why he has toyed with the prospect of pardoning himself, something which no previous president has ever attempted to do, and which is legally dubious at best.
“Trump has been talking about 2017, or asking questions inside about whether or not he can pardon himself, so explain that part,” he said.
“This is something that he’s been asking for years as far as we know,” Nuzzi replied. “Obviously if he is no longer in office, he has new legal threats and there is a new possibility that he could be investigated, forced to hand over documents that so far he’s been able to avoid doing. He’s kind of used the office of the presidency as a shield, legally, to protect himself, and if that is no longer available to him – there are a number of active investigations currently in New York and elsewhere – that I assume he’s quite worried about. Look at the list of Trump surrogates, starting from the 2016 campaign to the White House, who have found themselves in legal peril. It’s rather long, and I’m sure that he knows that and is aware of it and is thinking about that as he is being told to concede and get ready to leave office.”
To that point, Berman wondered why, if Trump really hates being president so much, he is making the transition into President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration so difficult.
“So if he does want to lose, as you’re being told, then what’s he doing? Then why hasn’t he, if not conceded, then at least not impeded the Biden transition? And this is something that I’ve been fixated on, why has he not said a word out loud in public for eight days?” Berman asked.
“It’s quite confusing. One of the things that the friend of the president said to me that’s not getting quite as much attention as the other quotes that you mentioned is that in this person’s view, “the president is okay with losing, but he’s not okay with quitting, that’s the distinction,” said Nuzzi.
In Trump’s case, Nuzzi continued, quitting is “somehow different, as somehow more shameful than the act of losing the election itself. And this is a guy from reality TV. He understands high drama, and this is the series finale. And maybe he wants to drag it out a bit and have these legal battles that his heart’s not really in, because he wants to drag out the drama that he can only really create as president of the United States. it’s not quite the same if he is no longer, if he is the outgoing president.”
Berman then asked Nuzzi to comment on rumors that Trump’s staffers are “counting down the days from freedom.”
Nuzzi said that “people know that there will be life after Trump.”
Spending a chunk of one’s life working for Trump “is long and it’s certainly long in Washington. And that they need to kind of go on a bit of a reputational recovery tour. And I don’t think it’s surprising. I think there’s just this class of kind of anti-professional operatives in the White House, and in this White House, they’re certainly anti-professional, who want to maintain their status, want to maintain their relationships with the people that perhaps they’ve attacked publicly, during this administration,” explained Nuzzi.
“They want to have jobs when this is all over. And now, you know, we’re starting to hear about White House officials looking for new jobs and, you know, the impression seems to be that everyone around the president knows that it’s over and is preparing for it to be over, but the president just isn’t ready yet to admit that,” said Nuzzi.
Watch below, courtesy of Crooks and Liars:
Sixty-eight days until the inauguration.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.