There is no tiptoeing, however, amid an armed insurrection.
The horde of Trump denunciators this week turned huge and vehement. You can’t incite a violent mob to storm the seat of our democracy and expect every enabler to continue enabling you. Certainly not if you’ve recently become a loser.
Admittedly, defections among lawmakers and other elites may not do much to repel the fever-swamp dwellers who attempted Wednesday’s coup (or who insist it was dastardly antifa-masquerading-as-MAGAmen who attempted the overthrow the government). And, admittedly, Trump probably doesn’t care too much about a legislative censure. The loss of the juggernaut that was his Twitter account may sting more sharply, as will the slow and steady shutting down of alternative platforms such as Parler.
What hurts most is precisely what never would have happened at all had Trump gone gently into the night — and it starts with golf.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” the chief executive of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America told the Associated Press after announcing that the PGA would withdraw its 2022 golf championship from Trump Bedminster. “We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. And how do we best protect that?”
Potentially being impeached? Yes, he was angry about that. But losing the PGA was a “different order of magnitude.”
Reduced by orders of magnitude could be the business executive’s fortune.
The PGA is but a drop in a bucketful of severed relationships: American Express and Mastercard say they won’t make contributions to candidates who tried to block the certification of results; Visa is suspending all donations as it reviews. American Airlines, AT&T, Best Buy, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Ford — the list goes on. They’re all hitting pause on the giving, or restricting gifts to the complicit. Even Deutsche Bank, Trump’s primary lender for two decades, is saying auf wiedersehen.
The post-presidency has been a lucrative gig ever since Gerald Ford started traveling what Ronald Reagan called the “mashed-potato circuit” — even without the hefty annual pension afforded former commanders in chief. Jimmy Carter, eating salmon and broccoli casserole on a paper plate while sipping on bargain-brand chardonnay, was never the norm. Bill Clinton has racked up tens of millions of dollars in speeches. George W. Bush declared upon leaving the Oval Office that he intended to “replenish the ol’ coffers.” Barack Obama has leaned into branding, hard. Book deals are old news; the hot game now is Netflix and Spotify production deals.
Trump, by contrast, was always trying to make money when he was still in office, telling Fortune that he might be the first hopeful to come out of his run richer than when he entered it. This boast turned out also to be a bluff; the reality TV star by all accounts is poorer now than he was four years ago, despite pouring taxpayer money into Mar-a-Lago by hosting summits there or hoovering up the dollars of diplomats at some of his other properties. (The so-called winter White House did manage to double its initiation fee, turning into the go-to destination for glitzy, glamorous GOP events. “Where big donors go to see and be seen,” as The Post put it. )
Today, it seems no one wants to be seen next to Trump. The grimmest possible fate for this disgraced politician has little to do with politics, where social distancing from a lame-duck president is standard procedure. For the founder of Trump Hotels, and Trump Steaks, and Trump Vodka, and Trump Anything and Everything the guy could get his name on, doom arrives when the whole world at once tries to cast off his brand.