It happens to everyone. You say something you wish you could take back, and you'll do anything to distract from what you said. That appears to be what has happened with former President Donald Trump.
Trump yesterday took to Truth Social to say something that probably tied his legal team in knots - that he should be declared the winner of the 2020 election, or a new election held immediately. And now, the president has taken to the social media platform again and fired off a whopping 66 posts this morning alone - and counting. There may be a very good reason for his sudden rapid-fire Truth Social posting - and it's not great news for Team Trump.
Donald Trump Takes to Truth Social for an Early Tuesday Posting Barrage
For most of us, when we post something on social media we wish we could take back, the way to fix it is by deleting and apologizing. It may not always work, but most of us aren't high-profile enough to take it farther than that. Not so with Donald Trump.
Yesterday, Trump posted to Truth Social, "So now it comes out, conclusively, that the FBI BURIED THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY BEFORE THE ELECTION knowing that, if they didn’t, 'Trump would have easily won the 2020 Presidential Election.' This is massive FRAUD & ELECTION INTERFERENCE at a level never seen before in our Country. REMEDY: Declare the rightful winner or, and this would be the minimal solution, declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately!"
Around 2AM EST, Trump double down, posting, "The Presidential Election was BADLY & IRREPARABLY TAINTED by the FBI’s FAKE description of the 'Laptop from Hell' to Facebook & the LameStream Media - & for MANY other reasons as well. Declare the rightful winner, or hold a new Election, NOW! Our Country, which is failing badly, knows the 'score,' and will never accept Criminal Election Interference. The FBI just fired its Special Agent In Charge of this outrageous & very illegal assault on the Constitution of the United States of America!"
The comment bolsters assertions that the House's January 6 panel has been making since June, that the former POTUS tried to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election. Also, unlike the average social media poster, Trump can't just delete it and pretend he never said it, so he has to find a way to prove that what he said isn't meant in the way the January 6 panel suggests it is.
Another tactic - bury it under busy work.
Trump has "re-Truthed" or written 66 posts since midnight, burying the controversial statements too far down for the casual social media scroller. That's not to suggest Trump is apologetic or regrets saying it, but with legal woes bearing down on him from multiple directions, he's likely receiving dire pleas from his legal team.
The former President's most recent social media barrage is an interesting choice in the current climate, including multiple memes mocking the intelligence or supposed senility of President Joe Biden, and taking stabs at Democrats in Congress along with voters who choose anyone but Trump. Many of the memes, Trump re-Truthed and then captioned with comments like, "Why are people so mean?" or "not nice!" One meme read, "Wait till you see what's next."
Politico explains that there is "enormous frustration" among Republicans who are being forced off-message to defend the former President, writing, "In the weeks since the search of Mar-a-Lago, the former president has been off the airwaves, even eschewing appearances on friendly shows. Instead, he’s blasted out self-defenses on his social media site Truth Social and through his Save America super PAC.
The more he speaks for himself, however, the more political headaches he creates for Republicans. On Monday, he bluntly proposed that he be crowned the 'rightful winner' of a 2020 election fairly won by Biden, or that a determination be made that the ballot was 'irreparably compromised.' He suggested a do-over of the election in the case of the latter."
Many Republicans have distanced themselves from making the news rounds in Trump's defense, although whether it's because they worry about criminal liability or tire of the media focus is up for debate. Senator Lindsey Graham has suggested that riots would follow a criminal indictment, but others have simply stopped discussing it - or keep it simple when they're asked about the former POTUS.
Is Trump Digging Himself a Hole He Can't Crawl Out Of?
Watching the former President's barrage in real time begs the question as to whether this is all sound strategy, or digging him into a legal hole he can't crawl out of.
Trump is confident that the Mar-a-Lago raid will amount to nothing, and that the documents he declassified were within his purview to do so. But legal experts paint a different picture and suggest that the extraordinary and unthinkable step of criminally indicting a former President is likely just around the corner.
Trump can take two strategies moving forward: stay silent and avoid implicating himself further in any potential criminal activity the Department of Justice is investigating. Or he can continue to act as he does and take the stance that he has nothing to worry about because he's not engaging in criminal behavior - even though it appears to reinforce criminal behavior already being investigated.
Trump is the equivalent of a mixed blessing for a legal team who likes a challenge. Trump is known as "Teflon Don" because charges brought against him - and there have been many civil cases - never stick. A big win on Team Trump can cement your legal legacy for years to come. On the other hand, the current intersection of legal troubles is a perfect storm of problems even a seasoned legal team will struggle to keep their client free from. Will Trump's magic continue to work against the Department of Justice and the Espionage Act? Time will tell.