The problems keep mounting for former President Donald Trump.
While Trump has always been in hot water, with myriad problems throughout his first term in office (and beyond), the problems now facing Trump are especially noteworthy and numerous.
Trump is facing open conflict on multiple fronts; an assortment of lawsuits, investigations, and scandals are all cresting, and seemingly, threatening to finally displace the grizzled former president from the GOP mantle.
Problems mounting for Donald Trump
Assessing which of Trump’s “problems” are the most pressing is difficult; Trump has so many problems, each with the potential to disrupt his bid for another term.
I have adopted the habit of conceptualizing Trump’s problems not in terms of severity but in terms of class (i.e., lawsuits, investigation, scandal).
Let’s start with the lawsuit. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, is being sued in the State of New York. Allegedly, the Trump Organization inflated its own valuation for the purpose of securing more favorable loans. The New York Attorney General is seeking to bar Trump or his children from ever conducting business in the State of New York again. Trump has filed a countersuit.
The House recently concluded an eighteen-month investigation into Trump’s involvement in the January 6th riots. The House’s conclusion held that Trump had indeed conducted himself in a criminal manner; the House made formal criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, asking the DOJ to bring charges against Trump for insurrection and conspiring against the government.
The criminal referral is significant – it represents the first time in US history that Congress has ever recommended a former president be charged criminally – but the referral has no teeth; it is just a recommendation. However, the DOJ – particularly Attorney General Merrick Garland – will consider the House’s recommendations and consider whether to bring charges against Trump. If Garland proceeds with bringing charges against Trump it will be the first time a former president has ever been charged criminally.
Trump is also being investigated for mishandling sensitive documents – many of which were recovered in a dramatic FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Allegedly, Trump took CLASSIFIED documents with him when he left the White House. It’s simple and stupid and I’m not sure what Trump’s end goal was. Again, the DOJ could bring charges if they find Trump acted illegally in his handling of the documents.
Aside from problems with legal consequence, Trump is enduring problems in the strictly political sphere, as well. Over Thanksgiving break, Trump hosted Kanye West and Nick Fuentes for dinner at Mar-a-Lago. The problem stems from the fact that West and Fuentes are both well-documented antisemites. The fallout from the dinner caused a “political nightmare” for Trump.
The aggregate has impaired Trump’s political viability
The aggregate effect of the lawsuits, investigations, and scandals appears to be an impairment of Trump’s political viability. Essentially, Trump’s stock – and perhaps his electability – are falling. Donald Trump endorsed candidates were trounced in the 2022 midterms (only one Trump endorsee won in a battleground state). And Trump’s popularity amongst Republicans is falling to all-time lows. In fact, Republican voters are beginning to indicate that they would prefer an alternative to Trump as the GOP presidential nominee in 2024. Specifically, Republicans are indicating they prefer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over Trump. But the 2024 election is still a long way off – and counting the ultra-resilient Trump out now would be shortsighted and foolish. Still, Trump is more vulnerable now than ever before.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.