Having launched a new bid for the White House, Donald Trump has not been met with the energy he had been hoping for.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
“In all, it has been a truly terrible launch of a presidential campaign,” said Lara Brown, political science professor at George Washington University, noting that the one-term former US president has stumbled through “one scandal after another.”
Having hoped to ride a Republican “red wave” in the midterm elections last month, Trump instead found himself high and dry after most of the noteworthy candidates he backed were defeated.
Spurned by conservative heavyweights, the former president once again found himself the target of intense criticism last month after dining with rapper Kanye West, who has been accused of anti-Semitism, and a white supremacist.
Many Republicans who had long been fearful of incurring their leader’s wrath now piled their scorn on the real estate mogul, calling the dinner “ridiculous,” “disgusting” and “scandalous.”
Their efforts to distance themselves from the former president accelerated further when Trump — who falsely claims he won the 2020 election — issued calls to abandon the US Constitution.
And the point was driven home yet again Tuesday, when one of Trump’s most famous protege candidates, former American football player Herschel Walker, lost a bid for a Senate seat in the state of Georgia.
“Trump has also had a number of high-profile donors publicly state that they are not interested in supporting his 2024 campaign,” Brown told AFP.
The billionaire, known for his inflammatory speeches to rallies of red-hatted supporters, has not held any campaign event outside his residence at the Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida since declaring his candidacy in November.
And while the 76-year-old has always thrived on political controversy, he is now the subject of myriad criminal and civil investigations, from his handling of classified documents to his financial affairs in New York.
Assault on the Capitol
Trump’s real troubles are likely only just beginning.
For more than a year, the contentious Republican has been under investigation over allegations of exerting pressure on Georgia state officials during the 2020 presidential election, which could lead to an indictment.
And a Congressional committee investigating his responsibility for the attack by his supporters at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, is set to release a voluminous report in the coming weeks.
The panel has already indicated that it would recommend indictments, without specifying who could be targeted.
The decision of whether or not to charge the former president will ultimately rest with Attorney General Merrick Garland, who in mid-November appointed a special prosecutor to independently investigate Trump.
The courts have already found his family business guilty of tax evasion, a blow for the ex-businessman, although he himself has not been tried.