After his first acquittal by the Senate in February 2020, then-President Trump savored the moment by walking down a White House red carpet to applause from lawmakers before savaging his political enemies in a pair of freewheeling speeches.
But now out of office, silenced on Twitter and disgraced in many people’s eyes since the violence at the Capitol on January 6, he surfaced on Sunday only for a round of golf at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
He was even absent from a Valentine’s Day message posted by Melania Trump, who shared pictures of how she had spent the holiday visiting sick children during her time as first lady – but made no mention of her husband.
Back for another round: Donald Trump at his own Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on Sunday, a day after he was acquitted by the Senate at the end of his historic second impeachment trial
Newly acquitted: Trump took to the golf course hours after the Democratic effort to convict him and potentially bar him from running for office again in 2024 fell ten votes short of the required supermajority
Former first lady Melania Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to share three photos of herself visiting with kids – but Twitter users were quick to notice that she failed to mention her husband Donald
Trump issued a statement after his acquittal on Saturday hinting at a political re-emergence, promising that ‘soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future’.
‘Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,’ he said, after the Senate voted 57-43 to convict him of inciting insurrection – falling ten votes short of the required two-thirds supermajority.
With Trump deprived of his favorite bullhorn since he was permanently banned from Twitter after January 6, he has remained unusually out of sight since leaving the presidency nearly a month ago.
But his looming presence is likely to continue the civil war in the Republican Party, with Mitch McConnell hinting he could oppose Trump-backed candidates in the 2022 midterms.
The GOP Senate leader said he voted to acquit Trump on procedural grounds but later unleashed a searing rebuke of the former president, saying Trump was ‘practically and morally responsible’ for the day that shamed America.
On Sunday, McConnell told Politico that he was now focused on the future – with or without Trump’s support.
‘My goal is, in every way possible, to have nominees representing the Republican Party who can win in November,’ he said.
‘Some of them may be people the former president likes. Some of them may not be. The only thing I care about is electability.’
Resurfaced: Trump appeared at the golf club on Sunday in a stark contrast to the theatrics that followed his first acquittal by the Senate in February 2020, when he gave two freewheeling speeches savaging his political enemies
Hidden away: With Trump deprived of his favorite bullhorn since he was permanently banned from Twitter after January 6, he has remained unusually out of sight since leaving the presidency nearly a month ago
Trump loyalists such as QAnon believer Marjorie Taylor Greene, who only entered Congress in January, have already caused significant headaches for McConnell and Republicans in Washington.
The Senate vote means Trump is still eligible to run for another term in 2024, but he has not confirmed whether he intends to do so.
Wendy Schiller, a professor of political science at Brown University, said Trump’s ability to make himself heard may be limited in the coming years.
‘If a corporation were to offer him a speaking appearance, the social media backlash would be swift and severe, with possible boycotts of their products,’ Schiller said.
‘Even holding conferences or events at Trump properties will be a problem for large publicly traded companies, or companies that provide a direct to consumer product,’ she said.
Comeback? Trump hinted at a political re-emergence in a statement following his acquittal, promising that ‘soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future’
The Trump party: The former president’s entourage at the golf club in West Palm Beach on Sunday
Melania Trump marked Valentine’s Day with a tweet remembering how she spent the holiday in past years – but made no mention of her husband Donald (pictured together on January 20)
February 2020: The world looked different for Trump when he celebrated his first acquittal by the Senate a year ago
McConnell declined to say whether he would support the former president if he seeks re-election in four years time, saying he was focused on the midterms in 2022.
Meanwhile, former first lady Melania Trump is said to be enjoying a leisurely pace of life since she relocated to Mar-a-Lago last month.
But on Valentine’s Day, Twitter users were quick to notice that Melania did not mention her husband of 15 years in a Twitter post about a holiday celebrating love.
Several sources told CNN that Trump is spending much of her time at day spas.
‘She goes to the spa, has lunch, goes to the spa (again) and has dinner with Donald on the patio,’ one source told the network.
Another source said: ‘It is not unusual for Trump to spend several hours a day there [at the spa], enjoying the benefits at her disposal, often going twice in a 24-hour period, for massages, nail care, facial treatments or other items on the menu.’
The sources both said that ‘the former first lady has mentally all but left Washington behind, unlike her husband’.