Donald Trump has outlived his usefulness to the Republican Party. The reality star’s shameless improvisations may have propelled the GOP to power, but now they threaten to paralyze the capital it conquered. The president can’t seem to get through the day without contradicting the party’s message, betraying a core U.S. ally, or accidentally confessing to a federal crime. Delivering a tax cut for the rich on the backs of low-income cancer patients would be hard enough with a competent president. With Donald “Let me ask the FBI director to rig an investigation and then fire him so he’s free to talk about it” Trump at the wheel, that dream looks impossible.
Your average elected Republican never liked Trump to begin with. Now “it would be tough to overstate how angry, confused and fed up Republicans are with President Donald Trump,” Politico reports. And that disoriented rage is allowing some in Paul Ryan’s caucus to whisper about impeachment.
But as appealing as the thought of a sweet, polite, conventionally theocratic President Pence surely is to many on the right, the costs of removing Trump from office without his consent are enormous. The mogul has informed his core supporters, over and over, that Washington is controlled by a bipartisan cabal of globalists hellbent on forcing their grandchildren to grow up speaking Spanish. If congressional Republicans turn on Trump, he’ll turn his megaphone — and email list — against them.
But what if they persuaded Trump to accept early retirement? After all, Trump seems to be as disappointed with the realities of his presidency as anyone in Congress. Virtually every story about the reality star’s life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue paints a portrait of anxious exhaustion and paranoid rage. In press interviews, Trump has expressed an open desire to return to the relative tranquility of his pre-political existence.
“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” the president told Reuters last month. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
Everyone would be better off if the president stepped down to spend more time with Fox News and his Twitter account. Trump could spend his golden years doing the things he loves most; the Republicans wouldn’t have to run away from (and/or or flip off) reporters at the end of each day; and the rest of us could savor our more favorable odds of not dying in a nuclear holocaust.
But to secure that happy ending, the Republican Party will have to answer a formidable question: How do you convince a narcissist to give up the ego trip of a lifetime?
Sure, Trump would probably be happier if he just resigned. But human beings have a talent for courting their own misery. Winning the presidency is (probably) the closest Trump has ever come to satisfying his insatiable desire for the world to affirm his own sense of self-importance. Getting Trump to walk down the road from “leader of the free world” to “one of world history’s most infamous quitters” won’t be easy.
So, best to start sketching out what a compelling retirement package might look like. Here’s a grab bag of free ideas for Republicans to mix and match while stitching together Trump’s golden parachute:
A full pardon for all past and near-future crimes.
This almost goes without saying. One of the few rational reasons for Trump to cling to the presidency is to avoid the penitentiary. As of this writing, it’s not clear that Trump — or any of his family members — can be convicted of a serious crime. But it’s a serious possibility — or so, the president seems to think. Beyond all the Russia and obstruction of justice stuff, any federal investigation would pry open the finances of the Trump Organization — an enterprise known for serial fraud and ties to the mafia.
A military parade celebrating the unprecedented success of the Trump presidency.
If Trump is a master of anything, it’s hiding the reality of serial failure behind signifiers of great success. So, allow Trump to resign in triumph, not disgrace. He isn’t leaving Washington because he couldn’t drain the swamp, but because he already has: The mogul accomplished more in four months than Barack Obama did in eight years. And to help him believe that, let him ride a tank down Fifth Avenue while ticker tape rains down from above.
Fund new seasons of The Celebrity Apprentice through the National Endowment of the Arts, in perpetuity.
Community theaters will just have to take the hit.
Force Mike Pence to license Trump’s name.
This would provide the ex-president with a revenue stream and allow the (Mike) Trump presidency to live on in his absence.
Make Trump an Honorary Secretary-General of the United Nations, after renaming that position “President of the World.”
Would require a lot of international cooperation, but worth a shot.
Persuade Barack Obama to lose to Trump at golf, for the good of the republic.
This is less a suggestion for the deal itself, than a way of putting Trump in right frame of mind before presenting him with it.
Let him keep the Coke button.
Bring him before a joint session of Congress, and have every federal lawmaker stand and chant, in unison, “You are loved, you are accepted, you are forgiven,” over and over, until the words fill the emptiness he’s spent 70 years carrying in his chest; until he finally believes them and breaks down into tears of desperate gratitude; until he realizes he’s spent his entire life worshipping the false god of his own ego, and now wants nothing more than to be a source of comfort to his friends and family, even Tiffany, no — especially Tiffany, oh God, Tiffany; until he starts muttering “all my life, greedy, greedy, greedy” through a quavering voice, while shuffling off the dais, and down the aisle, and out of public life; until sunlight breaks through cloud cover above the National Mall and America is finally free from the nightmare of Donald Trump’s personality.