The pundits have been telling us the “becauses” since long before Election Day. Donald Trump is allowing the transition, but hasn’t conceded and won’t leave the White House without a struggle, because he is protected from federal criminal prosecution as long as he remains in office.
Also, because he loves the trappings of the presidency. Because his creditors are kept at bay while he wields the levers of government. Because his Trump companies can charge the government for the Secret Service’s hotel rooms, $3 a glass for his own water and all the infrastructure for the speeches to his adoring crowds, which is ostensibly the only joy in his life.
Why wouldn’t he scorch the earth to try to hold on to that? What could possibly be offered to him in exchange for exiting gracefully?
To be the King of Florida!
Florida could secede from the Union without the same pushback as the last secession attempt in 1860. The simple truth is that the other 49 states can barely tolerate Florida as it is already. The humidity. The bugs. The COVID.
If the home of “Florida Man” lost Disney World, who would even notice it was no longer part of the U.S.? And, King of Florida should be appealing to Trump for every reason he has tweeted and railed about.
King Trump would be out of reach of New York state Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr., and the Kingdom of Florida would certainly have no extradition treaty with the United States. He can move most of his assets to Florida and protect them from his $400 million worth of creditors in the U.S. and around the world. All the women suing him would have no ability to re-file their suits in Florida, assuming there would be any courts in the new country.
The lure of ascending to the throne would not just be to avoid his legal issues. He has spent so much time, energy and political power undermining democracy, but now it could be done in one fell swoop. He has wanted to be like a king, now he can be an actual king.
It could be everything he was trying to turn the US presidency into, without facing the annoyances of the Constitution and those who have read it (or even people who have read anything other than memes).
He wouldn’t have to worry about unfriendly media, government officials who actually care about governing, protesters or any vegan options. In a true show of unchecked power and an expression of pure vanity, King Trump could choose a separate time zone for His Realm, such as 18:37 GMT. Trump Standard Time.
Mar-a-Lago would become the Royal Palace; the Florida Senate and House, the facade House of Lords and Parliament; and Gov. Ron DeSantis, the puppet Prime Minister. Princess Ivanka can wear a tiara made in China.
King Trump would not have Centers for Disease Control, nor a need to pretend to sort of follow its pandemic guidelines. They can hire Dr. Fauci, just to ridicule him and fire him the next day. In fact, they could deport all scientists from the fledgling nation.
All the COVID deniers around the U.S., and those who believe in Trumpism more than democracy, can caravan to Florida. His Excellency can orate to the maskless masses, and whip them into epic frenzies, tempered only by the superspreader deaths that would inevitably follow them.
Trump TV can be the official network of the country, and Fox News would be lucky to have one slot per day . . . unless something negative is said about Trump. Florida can nominate Trump every year for all Nobel awards, not just the peace prize.
While Florida would not be a member of the G-8, he could create and feel very welcome in his own society of dictatorships, including Russia, North Korea, Turkey and China, the D-5. He will be invited to throw out every pitch for every game between both teams of the Florida National Baseball League. He can build his full wall between Florida and the remaining United States, and we’ll happily pay for it. And, he can finally enact his plan for limiting immigration to only non-Muslim Norwegians.
Imagine how much money the Orange Crown could make by blending Florida’s finances into his own without regulatory oversight, no meddling congressional committees and a media that he owns literally, not just figuratively. Everyone who already has a MAGA hat would have to buy a new MFG one from the Trump companies. And he can start charging for his rallies, as there would be no more campaigns or campaign finance laws to ignore.
As King of Florida, Donald Trump would get everything he’s ever wanted, and most importantly, this time it would truly make America great again.
Tom Downey is a regulatory attorney in Denver, a former assistant attorney general, ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign in Colorado and represented the Colorado House Democrats for Congressional Redistricting and State Reapportionment.
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