For President Trump, turnabout is fair play. Following the election, President Biden opened the Office of the President-Elect in Delaware. He would give speeches and make announcements from behind a podium that looked very much like the one the president uses. It was a blatant attempt to minimize the outgoing administration’s coverage and put to rest any issues raised about election integrity. While the moniker was not new, Biden took it to a new level.
Today, President Trump officially opened the Former President’s Office in an obvious troll to make a broader point. He is not going away, and neither is his policy agenda. While he will need to figure out how to amplify his message off Twitter, it does not appear he intends to stay quiet or take up painting like President George W. Bush.
INBOX: Palm Beach County, Florida —Today, the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, formally opened the Office of the Former President. pic.twitter.com/3F8BrEKCvr
— Independent Women's Voice (@IWV) January 26, 2021
If the Trump organization had one strong suit, it was marketing. Positioning him as a champion for the American people in this announcement is authentic and the essence of his policy agenda. President Trump was the first to give a voice to disenfranchised voters by saying he would end international agreements that disadvantaged Americans. While his tax policy and judicial appointments were typically Republican, his trade policies and, to some extent, his foreign policy were not.
He used tariffs to leverage other countries to come to the table on trade and immigration with success. Trump was the first to confront China in any significant way and used the military surgically to destroy the ISIS caliphate and eliminate key actors in global terror networks. Thanks to fracking, which allowed for energy independence, his administration could pursue a principled and effective strategy for greater peace in the Middle East. Other NATO members started paying their fair share and the organization endured.
While there were rumors that Trump was thinking about starting a third party, the language in this announcement appears to indicate a different approach. It states he will carry on his agenda through advocacy, organizing, and public activism. This statement implies a GOP-adjacent group like the Tea Party, and it would be well within his ability to build that kind of movement. No single politician in my lifetime could draw the crowds and level of enthusiasm President Trump did. We should be hopeful he can turn the disappointment and anger in his base back to the positive and optimistic mood prevalent at his rallies.
The RNC would be remiss dismissing or antagonizing President Trump. While they may be required to remain neutral in his dustups with Vichy Republicans like Senator Mitt Romney, Trump has an authenticity that appeals to voters the GOP has to figure out how to appeal to and craft a policy platform for if they want to win elections. And if we learned one thing from the virtual RNC, having someone familiar with production value matters. The RNC was head and shoulders above the DNC and had the personal and emotional messaging the GOP needs to get comfortable with.
Ultimately the Trump era forced a situation that had been evolving for some time. The Republican Party is no longer the party of corporate America. The new tycoons are fully bought into the Democrat agenda that crushes working and middle-class families regardless of race. It is that ethos the party leadership needs to embrace to expand the new base President Trump established. And where we need new candidates to carry that mantle, let’s find them and let President Trump help.