Trump is also continuing to process the emotional scars of losing to a candidate he repeatedly said during the campaign was an unworthy opponent whose win would amount to humiliation. He again made no public appearances on Thursday, skipping the first coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in more than six months. He is planning to participate in a virtual Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Friday, a senior administration official told CNN.
Trump has heard from a multitude of friends and business associates who have been urging him to at least let the transition begin, even if he doesn’t want to concede, another source who is also familiar with the President’s thinking told CNN. His answer: No. You’re wrong. “Absolutely wrong,” according to one source.
The friends and associates, this source said, have been imploring the President to think about the future. They have told him he is making it harder on himself, that he’ll have a hard time getting people to stay at his hotels, or even borrowing money if he continues this behavior. He will hurt his brand, they have told him. The President thinks that’s wrong.
“The most important thing we need to keep in mind is that Donald is in a unique position for him,” said Mary Trump, the President’s niece who wrote a damning account of his family life. “He’s never in his life been in a situation that he can’t get out of either through using somebody else’s money, using connections, using power. And not only is he in a unique position, he’s in a position of being a loser, which in my family, certainly, as far as my grandfather was concerned, was the worst possible thing you could be.”
Trump is listening to his friends, this source said, but hurriedly ends conversations because he disagrees. He doesn’t want to hear what he doesn’t believe.
Inside the White House, it seems as if many people have decided to let this play out, either because they want to or because they have no choice. Son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is playing it cool, this source said, while daughter Ivanka Trump has pretty much removed herself from this, as CNN reported last week.
Ivanka is well aware she has a business she might want to return to, or even a future political life, the source said.
The President, this source said, “doesn’t see” how bad the aftermath of all of this could be for the country, and for democracy itself. As usual, he’s focused on himself — not Covid-19, nor the transition.
Trump has even been told there is no need to concede and to just let the transition proceed. It doesn’t register, at least not yet.
In another week or 10 days, this source said, it could be a different story.
But he’s still not ready now, if ever, to concede.
Pamela Brown, Kevin Liptak and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this story.
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