How can Trump enjoy being president

What will happen to Trump after Trump?

It's been a week since the Americans went to the polls and elected Joe Biden, the former Democratic Vice President, as the 46th President of the United States. And two months before the inauguration celebrations, Biden has already accepted his new role: Talks with health experts to discuss an anti-corona plan, phone calls with heads of government in London, Berlin and Paris.

But what about the current incumbent, who still doesn't even think about admitting publicly that he lost the election? If you don't believe in a completely surprising turn of events, but with this president you never know, Donald Trump's time in the White House will be up on January 20, 2021. And then what?

A mountain of debt

Some observers suspect that the tenacity with which Trump holds on to the presidency - up to and including attempts to hinder the electoral process first and then the counting - has a specific reason: without office, he would lose his immunity. "The office is what saves him from jail and the poor house," historian Timothy Snyder told The New Yorker magazine before the election.

In September the "New York Times" reported that Trump had debts of over 400 million dollars (the equivalent of 340 million euros) - a large part of it with Deutsche Bank - and that this sum was due within the next four years.

Just a few days before the US election, Deutsche Bank executives told Reuters news agency that a Trump defeat would make it easier for the bank to obtain repayment of the loans issued to Trump personally - with foreclosure if necessary.

Pomp and show? Trump Tower atrium in New York

Deutsche Bank is already in the spotlight because of questionable practices. The quoted managers of Trump's longstanding house bank said that a defeat would open up the possibility of closing Trump's accounts and ending a business relationship that has garnered persistent bad press and unwanted political attention for the financial institution. Deutsche Bank refused to comment on the nature of its relationship with Trump now that Biden is elected president.

As part of a tax audit, Trump is also calling for a tax refund to be returned. It's about $ 72 million that he got back in 2010 for alleged losses of $ 1.4 billion in 2008 and 2009.

Family business

The president continues to own more than 500 companies, including hotels, resorts, and golf clubs, and made no secret of them during his presidency. True, the ongoing management lies in this The Trump Organization called conglomerate with Trump's sons since he took office. However, he still has access to the accounts. Democrats in Congress always saw this as a conflict of interest and accused Trump of allowing potential deals to influence his foreign policy and using the office of president for personal financial gain.

In fact, it became known that lobby groups seeking Trump's attention were staying at his hotels and that a Chinese state-owned company won a multi-million dollar contract to build a Trump golf course in the United Arab Emirates when the US-China trade war was already going on was in full swing.

Executive President? Trump with Alibaba founder Jack Ma (archive image)

As an ex-president, Trump could take on a more active role again in the company that bears his name. However, the conglomerate is mainly concerned with real estate and hotels, and the business magazine "Forbes" speculated that the corona crisis had occurred The Trump Organization possibly badly hit. The value of the group fell "Forbes"zAs a result, between March 1 and March 18, 2020, it increased by around one billion dollars to 2.1 billion dollars.

Additionally, while the Trump presidency may in some ways have been a marketing opportunity for his companies, it harmed the Trump brand in other ways. The real estate portal "City Realty" has calculated that the prices for buildings owned by Trump in New York, where he is considered extremely unpopular, have fallen by 25 percent in the past four years. The name Trump has been removed from the facade of some apartment buildings.

"The business of the family company with real estate and hotels could decline," said journalist and Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio of DW. "It's a very difficult business and the brand has suffered in the luxury segment."

A wave of complaints

A 1973 ruling by the US Department of Justice - when the Watergate scandal toppled President Richard Nixon - states that courts cannot prosecute incumbent presidents. But once he has left the White House for good, Trump will lose that immunity from the presidency and will then face an avalanche of ads that has built up over the past four years.

Both civil and criminal investigations into Trump's business practices are ongoing in New York State. The president also faces complaints from women alleging sexual abuse. A scandal over hush money payments could also fall back on Trump, who put his former lawyer Michael Cohen behind bars in 2019. According to the verdict, Cohen had violated campaign regulations by paying two women to keep quiet about an affair with Trump when the Republican presidential candidate was a candidate. Cohen said at the time that Trump had instructed him to pay.

It is conceivable that Trump could use the president's constitutional rights to pardon him before he leaves office. However, no president has tried to pardon himself before him, and it is unclear whether such a move would be legally valid.

Incidentally, a President Biden Trump could also pardon, as did US President Gerald Ford in 1974 with Nixon after his resignation.

Either way, the US President only has the right to issue a pardon in cases under federal law. At the level of the individual US states, Trump would therefore enjoy no protection from legal prosecution as soon as he is no longer in office. Time will tell what that means in concrete terms.

Favorite station? Trump on Fox News (in May 2020)

"All his life he somehow got off legally," says Trump biographer D'Antonio. "He has always managed to get out of lawsuits or pay as little as possible when the judiciary has caught him."

Trump TV

There are people, like former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who want to know that Trump will stay in politics and look to a revenge against Biden in four years. But many others believe that he has other things in mind.

"If you watched him during the election campaign and saw how lively he got there and what energy he drew from his public appearances, then it is pretty obvious what he will do," says D'Antonio, who spent some time in white House spent interviewing Trump for his books. "I would assume that we will see him on television all the time."

Biographer D'Antonio and others speculate that Trump will rely on his media affinity and team up with a conservative broadcaster or possibly found his own. He had already indicated this in 2016 in the event that he should lose the election. According to the "Business Insider" magazine, his closest advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner "touted" such a variant.

A Trump-led channel could be even further to the right than the current Conservative darling Fox News. Formerly the president's mouthpiece, tensions have grown between Trump and the broadcaster in recent months. Last but not least, Trump is beside himself, it is said that Fox News do so little now to question the legitimacy of Biden's victory.

Translated from English by Andreas Rostek-Buetti