Trump Hunkers Down at the White House and Avoids Talk of Future

Hunkered down in what one former White House official called the “presidential man cave” of the Oval Office, President Donald Trump does not want to talk about what lies ahead once he leaves office next month, Reuters informed.

Several people familiar with the situation say he knows his time is up even as he presses the fight against the election outcome, despite having failed in a series of court challenges to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election that made Democrat Joe Biden president-elect.

With Monday’s Electoral College vote certifying Biden’s win, White House staff members are looking for jobs and planning their post-administration futures. First lady Melania Trump has looked for a school in Florida, where the couple is expected to reside, for their son Barron, People magazine reported.

A source close to Trump says he does not want to talk about the future beyond his remaining days in office. Any suggestion that he begin laying the groundwork for another run for president in 2024 is shunted aside, at least for now.

“He wants no conversation about what he’s going to do when he leaves the building,” the source said, asking for anonymity to speak candidly. “He’s convinced he’s leaving, but he compartmentalizes things. As long as he’s the president, he wants to be the president.”

Although an extrovert through his four years in office, Trump has largely closed himself off from the public in recent weeks, communicating mostly through tweets. He has done little to show he is focused on governing other than speaking at an event to highlight the speed of coronavirus vaccine development.

He has not played a significant role in responding to the computer hack that targeted the U.S. government, one administration official said. “This is not his wheelhouse, and it also involves the Russians, which complicates things.”

Trump confers with a coterie of advisers including Vice President Mike Pence and chief of staff Mark Meadows, who update him on vaccine distribution and stimulus talks under way in Congress.

The President has brought in members of his campaign team for updates and to urge them to keep fighting.

His refusal to concede the election is egged on by endless phone conversations with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and what the former White House official called “a rag-tag collection of lawyers that has kept the torch lit.”

Trump has declined to concede the election. He spends long days in and out of the Oval Office, sometimes not retiring to the residence until after 8 p.m., calling allies and aides to discuss strategy. He has spent weekends at his nearby golf property and done one trip to Georgia to campaign for Republican U.S. Senate candidates.

He frequently emphasizes to advisers that he got 74 million votes, 9 million more than Democrat Barack Obama did in his successful re-election bid in 2012. Biden’s 80 million, he tells them, points to fraud.

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