There are 20 million stories about how Donald Trump and his die-hard death cultists are still clinging to some hope that they can do… something. Like, I think even the worst of the death cultists know that the party’s over. But they still want to burn everything down on their way out the door. Just some of the stories: Trump is threatening to fire any staffer actively looking for another job right now; even Trump’s lawyers in Pennsylvania are like “this bitch is crazy”; Trump administration officials have been told to rebuff Biden’s people until the GSA administrator, a Trump appointee named Emily Murphy, administratively authorizes the transfer of transition funds. So here we are. VF now reports that the people around Trump are trying to figure out a way to gently break it to the unhinged fascist baby that he needs to concede and that all of this is over.
Trump got more and more upset when people said nice stuff about Biden: “Initially, Trump was thinking through options,” said a Republican who spoke with the president about the vote count. But Trump blew up any notion that he was a loser when the networks called Pennsylvania for Biden, and declared him president-elect. Apart from two golf outings, Trump bunkered in the White House glued to television, fuming at the positive media coverage Biden was receiving, and vowing to fight on. “As the weekend went on, Trump became more and more emboldened as he listened to people on TV saying fawning things about Biden,” the Republican said.
Republicans know that Trump is done: In recent days I spoke with a half dozen Republicans close to the White House, and they uniformly agreed that Trump is done. “It’s over,” said a campaign adviser. According to sources, even members of Trump’s legal team have privately said there’s virtually no chance the results can be overturned. “You have to be realistic,” said a prominent Republican close to the White House.
But what about his fascist baby feefees: The challenge for the West Wing, then, is finding a way to steer Trump to a place where he will accept reality. It won’t be easy: Sources said West Wing aides and members of the Trump family are scared to confront him directly. “People are explaining options to the president in a way that opens the door to a conclusion,” a former West Wing official said. “They’re telling him that it’s unlikely, but not impossible, to change the result.”
A Lord of the Flies atmosphere: Sources said a Lord of the Flies atmosphere has enveloped the West Wing, with Trump advisers accusing each other of looking out for themselves. Two sources speculated that a report saying Jared Kushner had advised Trump to concede was a way for Kushner to position himself to his New York friends as a rational voice. “Jared is taking care of Jared,” one Trump adviser said… Another Republican suggested that Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon are pushing the most extreme election-fraud conspiracies because they want to curry favor with Trump for pardons.
Trump has to continue to threaten lawsuits because he still needs to raise money: Trump, who has been pushing unfounded fraud claims, has a financial incentive to continue the dubious legal challenges. The campaign is trying to raise millions from donors and plans to use some of the money to pay off its debts. There’s also a political imperative. “Trump is trying to keep the MAGA movement going. That gives him a lot of leverage,” one adviser said. “But what Trump is going to find out is that the minute he leaves the White House, he’ll be like a used car coming off the lot. His value will drop.”
Trump staffers are losing patience. “Why put up with it anymore?” a campaign adviser said, adding, “They are tired of his sh-t.”
That last part is what I don’t understand about the broader GOP – the Nazi party is over, you guys. You don’t have to continue to suck up to Dear Leader. He will have zero power in 71 days. I mean, I understand the quid pro quo of Giuliani and Bannon, reprehensible as they are, but I get it. They want pardons. But beyond those guys, why is anyone pretending that Trump isn’t some unhinged loser fascist? And this idea that Trump has built some political coalition of racists, misogynists, bigots, rich sociopaths and dumbf–ks? Like, that coalition will swing easily to the next nutjob the GOP promotes.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.