Donald Trump prepares to launch a second term early, even without winning

Donald Trump prepares to launch a second term early, even without winning

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Nancy Cook on politico.com on November 5, 2020.

US President Donald Trump has struggled to convince the country he already won the election. So he’s just going to do the next best thing: act like he’s starting his second term early.

Trump and his aides have settled on a plan for him to take full advantage of his existing perch at the White House to look as presidential as possible, according to three people briefed on the strategy.

He may fire a few Cabinet members and top aides, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and Defence Secretary Mark Esper. He could sign a slew of base-pleasing executive orders. He might even resume his travel schedule. Meanwhile, Trump’s team is planning to mount even more legal challenges and cast evidence-deficient aspersions on the integrity of ballots.

The president is frustrated by what he views as unfair election results in states like Arizona, and is steaming at the possibility of losing to a candidate he considers “weak”, Democratic nominee Joe Biden.