Although I dislike Donald Trump intensely because of his many awful personal qualities and the policies he pursues (I really do not think I need to list all of them), one thing that has impressed me is his health. He is almost 76 years old, an age when the natural aging process reveals itself in the form of all manner of ailments. And yet, he seems to not have any serious health problems (at least as far as we know) and seems to be able to speak for well over an hour at his rallies. That requires some stamina.
This is surprising since he has all the hallmarks of a heart attack waiting to happen, since he eats junk food, is overweight, and seemingly does not exercise. He does have a florid complexion, but whether that is due to high blood pressure or the tanning and bronzing that he reportedly undergoes in his vanity is hard to say. The only good thing he does is get a lot of fresh air by being outdoors a lot playing golf, even though he rides around in a golf cart, thus foregoing even that little opportunity to walk and stretch his muscles. However he does not drink or smoke, which is a big plus.
Every indication is that he will run for the presidency in 2024 when he will be 78 years old. The Republican party is now the party of Trump, adopting all his worst qualities as their own and it looks like the nomination is his for the taking. Apart from some major legal or financial problems that may crop up in the next two years, only health concerns might prevent him from running again, and so some commentators such as Arick Wierson are looking for clues as to whether it might become a factor.
Pols, pundits and former associates of Trump are split about whether he will toss his hat in the ring a third time. Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney and “fixer,” told CNN last year that Trump’s “fragile ego cannot stand to be considered a two-time loser.” On the other hand, many analysts — including me — believe that Trump may very well take another crack at returning to the White House in 2024. In a recent piece, I argued that no matter the stakes, Trump will likely have no other option than to run again, given the wide array of legal problems bearing down on him, his family members and his business interests.
So, with so much at stake for him personally, as well as for his party and the country, it was notable that, in a recent interview with The Washington Post, the former president floated the possibility that his health could become an important factor in weighing whether he would run again in 2024: “You always have to talk about health. You look like you’re in good health, but tomorrow, you get a letter from a doctor saying come see me again. That’s not good when they use the word again.”
This offhand comment — one that apparently came as something of an afterthought toward the end of the interview — sent shock waves through the political establishment, because it was the first time that Trump, who has been notoriously secretive about sharing his health records with the public, seemed to admit that health issues might influence his decision to run. He has often been deliberately misleading and even dishonest about his health, and for him to proactively bring it up as a potential reason not to run in 2024 is something of a watershed moment. But Trump being Trump, what you see or hear is not exactly what you get, and it would be ill-advised to take his comments at face value.
Wierson suggests various reasons why Trump may have dropped such a hint about his health.
One possibility is that Trump is on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, his ego demands that he run to erase the bitter taste of being a loser. This whole bogus campaign of acting like the 2020 election was rigged and that he actually won is an attempt to cover up that indelible stain, because he has to know that he really lost. Winning re-election in 2024 would go a long way towards easing that pain.
But he must also surely realize that there is the danger that, despite all the rigging that he and his supporters are engaged in to swing the election in their favor, he might lose again. Being a two-time loser would be something that his ego simply could not tolerate. If he thinks that all the signs are that that might happen, he may use the health excuse to not run again to be spared that ignominy.
As with all things Trump, one simply cannot predict what might happen. The man is driven purely by what is best for him personally and how that calculus works out in the recesses of his brain is something that is almost impossible to tease out.
I submit a more likely reason Trump made that remark is because he has no control over his mouth. He never has.
Trump’s the guy who sit’s next to you in the bar and complains about how his wife screwed him over, taking all his money in their divorce, and a half-hour later is bragging about all the times he cheated on her.
I think that, with enough effort, Trump could convince himself that he did win in 2020, and so wouldn’t have to risk his ego in running again. He can soothe himself by ruling the party and hitting back at candidates who doubted his 2020 win, although that also looks to be fading.
Then, the presidency is an awful lot of work, even though Trump hardly did any. He didn’t want the presidency in the first place, not sure he’d like it again. The health excuse is as good as any, if he can bring himself to even admit that he’s not perfect.
But, if the legal troubles and loss of money and power close in, he’ll do anything to stop that.
Marcus Ranum says
He’s back to bragging about how he aced his alzheimers’ test. I’ll be amazed if the republicand don’t shiv him.
Marcus Ranum says
If the MTG lawsuit has legs and does not inmediately get dismissed, Trump 2024 will face lawsuits in every state, which could make him a huge crap-shoot. What if the nominee is thrown off the ballot in some states?
Also and unrelated, I really enjoy Beau’s suggestion that the democrats should debaye the libertarians. Right now most libertarians vote republican but peeling a few voters -- even a few points -- would undo a lot of vote suppression.
His bone spurs could flair up.
Trump has demonstrated, time and time again, that he is not capable of thinking about things in the abstract. Instead we have many examples of him simply blurting and rambling about whatever happens to be on his mind, resulting in weird speeches which reference things the public does not know about yet. Days or weeks or even years later, some secret thing is uncovered or an announcement is made and suddenly we know what the hell he was rambling about way back when.
Which is why I suspect Trump is not talking about a hypothetical letter from a doctor, but a real one. Or maybe I am just bewitched by my own wishful thinking.
Rob Grigjanis says
I hope Trump lives to a very old age, like Ishido in James Clavell’s Shōgun;
Marcus Ranum @4, I loves Beau’s idea too! And, it certainly would work. The Democrats can’t give up the publicity of having debates, they have to debate someone, and the libs are just their affair. Let the Republicans become the less-talked-about, faces-on-TV-less.
Deepak Shetty says
Assumes facts that are not in evidence. Not just him , the more I read about it , the more it looks like even the majority of Republicans do not believe that he lost.
He cannot lose in a free and fair election so if he does lose the elections werent free and fair -- I dont see this as a problem to him running again.
Ive read this in multiple places but it hasnt made sense. Supreme narcissist didn’t want to be President-King of the planet ?
“Supreme narcissist didn’t want to be President-King of the planet ?”
Maybe he dimly perceived that in this scenario, he’d be Zaphod Beeblebrox -- the function of such a president being not to wield power, but to attract attention away from it. Adams never seemed so prescient until Trump came to “power”.
Supreme narcissist didn’t want to be President-King of the planet ?
I think it was more that he thought that the run for the presidency would enhance his market value but never thought he would win. When he did, it was a “What was I thinking?” moment of total panic.
sez Deepak shetty @9: “Supreme narcissist didn’t want to be President-King of the planet?”
While running for office, the Angry Cheeto had stadiums full of people chanting his name, showering him with adulation. Why would he want to give that up by… [shudder] … winning the election?
Deepak Shetty says
@jrkrideau , @cubist, @sonofrojblake
Knowing all that we know about Trump now , do we really think he thought he wouldn’t win if he felt like it ? His ego would always have guaranteed that he thought he’d win (unless the elections were rigged of course).
Are we really attributing the level of self awareness to Trump that recognized that he might just be a figured head used b other interests ? he would have always assumed that he would use them .
John Morales says
Jesus wept, all this crap about how Trump didn’t want to win again! If he didn’t want to win, he could have ensured he wouldn’t at any point -- by telling his supporters not to vote for him, or withdrawing on health grounds. Or he could have resigned the Presidency immediately after his inauguration (or maybe even between winning the elction and that point -- I don’t know what would happen then, constitutionally). He could have done so at any point during his term -- there was continual nonsense about how he was about to through most of his term. And he certainly had no need to stand for re-election.
Well, that depends on who you’re talking about and how you define “lost”.
I’m quite sure most of the real players are well aware that Trump didn’t get the votes (too much planning and hustling going on to deny it), but do they really care about vote counts anymore? I suspect they’ve realized that winning the presidency doesn’t necessarily require winning the election.
As for the rank-and-file, who can say. Honestly, I’m not sure they themselves know what they believe. They know what their in-group expects them to say, but do they care beyond that?