And Trump lived up to expectations.
But since the former president was acquitted on Saturday of one count of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters aiming to disrupt congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, he’s stayed mostly under the radar.
After his acquittal in his impeachment trial on Saturday, Trump touted in a statement that “our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people.”
The former president teased that “we have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.”
But that’s been it – no TV or radio interviews, videos, sound bites or even additional statements.
Trump’s newfound discipline is partly due to his lost access to his favorite social media platforms – being booted from Twitter and Facebook. But with the snap of his finger, he could find himself in front of TV cameras or radio microphones with broad national reach. But so far he’s laying low.
The former president vows to remain a dominant figure in the GOP and pledges to support primary challengers against Republicans who have crossed him who are up for reelection in 2022. And he’s also flirting with a presidential run in 2024 to try to return to the White House. New polls released Monday and Tuesday indicate that most Republicans want the GOP to remain the party of Trump.
The former president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., told Fox News’ “Hannity” on Monday that his father “is going to keep pushing that America First agenda, fighting for the American worker….He’s going to be pushing for candidates who will do that, not the random establishment guys.”
And pointing to Republican candidates who back the former president, Trump Jr. vowed that “we’re going to fight, we’re going to support, we’re going to make sure those guys get elected”
Longtime top Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski told Fox News last month that the former president “will continue to be actively involved in recruiting candidates and holding elected officials accountable for their votes.”
Trump could make an appearance late next week a the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The largest and most influential annual gathering of conservatives – which is best known by its acronym, CPAC – is being held outside of the Washington, D.C., area for the first time in its nearly half-century history. As Fox News first reported in December, amid the coronavirus pandemic the confab will be held in person in Orlando, Fla., not too far from Trump’s home in Palm Beach.
While the conference has become a mecca for the MAGA world during the Trump era, advisers close to the former president have not said if he’ll attend.
Short term, it appears Trump’s following the less-is-more strategy.
“I think he’s trying to navigate his post-presidential life both in the realm of media as well as how he’s going to have influence in the party,” a Republican consultant tied to Trump world told Fox News.
While acquitted in the impeachment trial – seven Republicans joined all 50 Senate Democrats in voting to convict Trump, 10 votes shy of the 67 needed to convict – the former president still faces potential criminal trials and civil cases.
“I think they’re trying to get a sense of what’s really out there,” noted the consultant, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely. That’s a smart play. I think he’s right to wait to see what the lay of the land is both politically and personally, and that includes any legal challenges.”
But the consultant predicted that going forward, “I expect we’ll see him out there full-fledge again” and that “whatever sit-down interview he chooses to do, it’s going to be one of the most-watched interviews of his presidency and post-presidency.”