More than 18 months after leaving the White House, Donald Trump continues to dominate the US political scene. Will he run for a second term in 2024 and, if so, can the Republicans find a credible candidate to challenge him for the nomination? Even if he secures it, does the US electorate really want to see Mr Trump as president once again given the recent revelations about his alleged complicity in mob efforts to cancel the results of the last election by storming the Capitol building?
Mr Trump is rarely out of the news and the disclosure that the FBI raided his home in Florida is guaranteed to ensure he stays in the headlines. He said his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach was “occupied” by FBI agents investigating the former president’s handling of classified papers. They opened a safe and took away several boxes.
He has milked the affair for all it is worth. “These are dark times for our nation. Nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the United States before,” he claims. But the country has never had a head of state like Mr Trump before. Whereas most people whose home is raided by law enforcement officers might sound contrite or forcefully declare their innocence, for Mr Trump it is an opportunity to play the victim of conspiratorial forces.
Senior Republicans have lined up to support the former president just when his power base seemed to be shrinking. In a deeply divided nation it is easy to portray the raid as the politicisation of the FBI by Joe Biden’s Democrat administration. If charges are not brought, Mr Trump will don the martyr’s mantle and could well walk the nomination contest. If the investigation was politically motivated, it may have backfired badly.
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