A liberal commentator, of all people, has sought to debunk Trump-era Attorney General Bill Barr’s theory that former President Donald Trump will refuse to endorse the real winner if he loses the GOP presidential primary elections.
In an op-ed for the New York Post published on Monday, Barr predicted that, on account of Trump being “grossly self-centered,” if he loses the elections, he’ll “burn the whole house down” by remaining in the race instead of endorsing the winner.
But liberal commentator Jonathan Chait thinks otherwise. Writing for New York magazine on Wednesday, Chait argued that Trump’s anger at losing to someone like, say, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, would ultimately be overpowered by a whole host of factors, including his worry over being prosecuted by the federal government.
While his theory may sound bonkers given Trump’s ego and apparent feelings about DeSantis, the potential 2024 GOP candidate most likely to defeat him, Chait is that confident that Trump’s self-interest would reign supreme.
To believe that Donald Trump would doom Ron DeSantis if the Florida governor wins the GOP nomination is to misunderstand both Trump and the incentive structure of the Republican Party. @jonathanchait writes https://t.co/gOeHsCBOfb
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) November 24, 2022
“What interests would Trump have in common with DeSantis? For one thing, DeSantis could offer Trump legal protection — either pardons or immunity from additional prosecution,” Chait wrote.
The president currently faces several investigations, including one involving his possession of classified documents, one involving his actions on Jan. 6th, and the latest one involving his taxes.
He just suffered a defeat in the latter case on Tuesday when the Supreme Court “rejected a bid by former President Donald Trump to prevent Congress from obtaining his federal income tax returns and those of related business entities from the IRS,” as reported by CNBC.
“The decision sets the stage for the Democrat-controlled House Ways and Means Committee to obtain Trump’s tax returns in the weeks before Republicans take majority control of the House,” according to CNBC.
THIS IS HUGE: Democrats will hold on to the majority in the House until January. That is plenty of time to review Trump’s taxes and report possible tax crimes to the special prosecutor.
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) November 22, 2022
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is now seeking to convince former Vice President Mike Pence to testify about the Jan. 6th riot.
“The Justice Department is seeking to question former Vice President Mike Pence as a witness in connection with its criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the matter,” The New York Times reported Wednesday.
“Mr. Pence, according to people familiar with his thinking, is open to considering the request, recognizing that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation is different from the inquiry by the House Jan. 6 committee, whose overtures he has flatly rejected,” according to the Times.
The former president would also be driven to support DeSantis because of the Florida governor’s big money ties, Chait predicted in his New York magazine post.
“DeSantis already commands a massive fundraising network, and as the Republican nominee, he would hold enormous power over various revenue streams around the party, ranging from its scam PACs to its media outlets. DeSantis would be in a position to make sure Trump is very well compensated in return for an endorsement,” he explained.
Moreover, he continued, any anger at losing to DeSantis would be overpowered by the former president’s anger at the current president, Joe Biden.
“It is true that a world in which Trump has lost a primary to DeSantis is a world in which Trump feels very angry with DeSantis. But DeSantis is not the only person Trump feels angry with. Trump has spent the past several years simmering with anger at Joe Biden. And while a contested primary would make Trump resent DeSantis more than he does now, it’s hardly certain that it would make him hate DeSantis more than he hates Biden,” Chait wrote.
“More important, it would be uncharacteristic for Trump to allow his grudges to get in the way of his clear self-interest. Trump does lash out wildly at anybody who disrespects him, but he also turns on a dime and makes friends with his former enemies. You can see this pattern in the way he lashed out at the likes of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio before reconciling on the basis of mutual interest,” he added.
That said, Chait’s critics, all of them Trump-hating leftists, aren’t so sure:
I’ll believe it when I see it
— Steven Johnson (@puupypants) November 23, 2022
He’d have to admit that he lost for an endorsement to happen. Based on the Iowa caucuses in 2016 and the 2020 election, I’m skeptical.
— Gaeten Dugas (@GaetenD) November 23, 2022
But what if Trump’s rational self-interest points to him creating a new brand wholly separate from Reps and DeSantis? That seems just as likely in the event of his defeat,
— John Mullen (@JohnMul45354802) November 23, 2022
Doubt defence against legal jeopardy would counter Trump’s instinct to attack Desantis if he lost to him. Trump doesn’t think the law can touch him as long as he can pay (or promise to pay) lawyers. So far he’s been right.
— Patrick Flannery (@Tilberian) November 23, 2022
Trump does like money of course but he likes his celebrity brand more. How much has he thrown away on shit like Truth Social? Doubt Desantis would be able to pay him off if it means having to look like an underdog.
— Patrick Flannery (@Tilberian) November 23, 2022
As wonderful as your articles generally are, you do have a history of badly misunderstanding Trump. And this article is no exception. It really seems to miss the mark.
— B Castaka (@b_castaka) November 23, 2022
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