His days as US President might be numbered, but Donald Trump has come up with a sneaky way to maintain control in the years ahead.
Trump lost the November 3 vote to Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden, receiving just 214 electoral college votes compared with Biden’s 290.
To win a US election, a candidate must secure 270 electoral college votes to claim victory, and while three states – Alaska, Georgia and North Carolina – are still counting, they would not make a difference to the final result.
Trump has made a series of allegations of voter fraud and has mounted several legal challenges, but that hasn’t stopped leaders from across the globe congratulating Biden as president-elect, including former Republican president George W. Bush.
And while Trump remains publicly defiant, he has also quietly established a leadership political action committee (PAC), a fundraising vehicle that could also allow him to retain control within the Republican Party – even once he leaves the White House.
Leadership PACS are legal groups that can accept donations of up to US$5000 ($7300) per year, per person, as well as cash from different PACs.
There is no limit on how much money can be spent helping candidates, and it can be spent on things such as travel, polling and staff.
According to The New York Times, the PAC – dubbed “Save America” – “would almost certainly be a vehicle by which Mr Trump could retain influence in a party that has been remade largely in his image over the past four years”.
And in Republican strategist Matt Gorman’s view, Trump is “not going anywhere any time soon”.
“He’s going to insert himself in the national debate in a way that’s unlike any of his predecessors,” Gorman told the publication.
On Tuesday, the Trump team’s campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh also told Fox News: “The President always planned to do this, win or lose, so he can support candidates and issues he cares about, such as combating voter fraud.”
It is expected Trump will formally announce details of the PAC this week.
So far, Trump has not ruled out a potential comeback in 2024, with sources claiming the outgoing President may run against Biden next time around.
But if he doesn’t personally throw his hat in the ring, there are indications he still intends to play the role of “Republican kingmaker” – and could potentially try to help get another Trump in the top job.
This week Fox News host Laura Ingraham predicted Trump would be “the central figure in Republican Party politics for years to come, regardless of whether he wins a second term” and there is ongoing speculation the family wants “First Daughter” Ivanka Trump to take the lead.
A Facebook page entitled “Ivanka for President 2024” has recently emerged, and experts say her silence regarding her father’s election fraud allegations is a huge clue about her potential political ambitions.
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