Flag from Wikimedia. Trump by Sambeet on Pixabay. Illustration courtesy of the author

Trump’s “Office of the Former President” is the First Step Towards Secession and Civil War

As pathetic as it looks, we should not take Trump’s latest publicity stunt lightly.

In a move as pathetic as it is dangerous, Donald Trump recently announced the “Office of the Former President.” Trump so describes the newly-minted “office” and its responsibilities:

The office will be responsible for managing President Trump’s correspondence, public statements, appearances and official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump administration through advocacy, organizing and public activism.

It won’t matter to his followers that a former president has no official activities, no agenda to carry and no administration to manage, because, once again, Trump is abusing traditions and norms to further his interests.

Officially, former presidents should be addressed as “The Honourable.” In recent years, it has become a tradition to refer to them as “Mr President” or (one day soon) “Ms President” as a matter of courtesy and respect for the office and their service to the nation.

Trump knows how important words are, as inarticulate as he may seem. If he is good at something, it’s marketing and self-promotion. Calling himself “President Trump” goes beyond tradition: it reinforces the idea that he is still the President. It is another way for him not to concede and to further his Big Lie that the Democrats stole the election from him. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” he told the crowd on January 6. This move is a continuation on the same line.

Not surprisingly at all, the Trump propaganda network (OANN and Newsmax) only uses “President Trump”, but they have shifted to using “Obama” or “Barack Obama” only, as shown in the screenshots below. This choice of words is a deliberate move to reinforce the idea that the “office of the former president” has an official capacity and that this capacity only belongs to “President Trump.”

The press release also states that as the former president, Mr Trump will handle official activities to advance the United States' interests and carry on the agenda of the Trump administration. Once again, the words are purposefully chosen to imbue this sham office with dignity and powers it does not have. It gives the impression to the ignorant that Mr Trump will continue representing the country, that he still has leeway to affect the legislative agenda.

This wording also doubles as a promise. Trump is signalling to his base that he will not abandon them, that he will “continue the fight.” Looking back at his four years in office, it is evident that Trump never had a plan beyond making himself rich, dividing the country, inciting a coup, and hurting minorities. Saying he will “carry on” is a symbolic way to reassure all the racists and bigots of the land that white supremacy will endure with him.

Of course, private citizens are barred from exercising any official activities that purport to represent the United States of America officially. This interdiction comes from the Logan Act of 1799. Only two people have ever been indicted under the Act, both in the 19th century; none was ever convicted. Legal scholars question the act's constitutionality; it could soon be tested in court by none other than Trump himself, should he decide to engage in discussions with, say, Mr Putin.

We will not explore the legal risks to which Mr Trump exposes himself with his “office,” it is clear that his latest move presents a clear and imminent danger to the country.

By setting himself up as a legitimate counter-power to the White House, Trump is effectively creating as a shadow administration. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump starts appointing a shadow cabinet and security council in the days to come. Once again, the Deep State will have been nothing more than a projection.

Such a move, were it to happen, would put the U.S. on a terrible path, that of secession and potential Civil War. If the Biden’s administration legitimacy is not only questioned rhetorically but also threatened physically by a competing cabinet and an anti-president, who’s to say what will happen.

What will Cruz, Hawley, Cawthorn, Taylor-Greene, Boebert, Jordan, Tuberville, and other sedition caucus’s members do? Will they join Trump and form a shadow parliament?

House Minority Leader McCarthy has already made the Mar-a-Lago pilgrimage. The message here is clear: Congress Republicans have sought Trump’s seal of approval, increasing the perceived legitimacy of his “office.” Republican senators have already indicated they will not vote to convict Trump. Everything is falling into place.

Make no mistake. This joke will not end up funny at all if the Department of Justice does nothing to bar Trump from claiming powers he doesn’t have and titles he is not allowed to bear. It already happened once in American history. A rich lunatic declared himself emperor of America and protector of Mexico under the name “Emperor Norton.” It made for good laughs.

The Emperor has found a new groove, though. This time, he comes imbued with the legitimacy of a term in office and propped up by the Big Lie that he didn’t lose reelection: it was merely stolen from him.

Emperor Donald isn’t a laughing stock. He is the first step towards secession and Civil War, and he must be stopped.

I write about politics, business, society and culture on Medium. For startup/business content, check my newsletter: fundraisedd.substack.com

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