Trump started the interview by pointing out his enduring and unrivaled power within the Republican Party. He explained that he didn’t intend to follow the path of former presidents, who largely bowed out of the nitty-gritty of party politics. He was proud to say he genuinely enjoys this sport he found so late in life, and believes he plays it better than anyone else. The parade of Republican politicians flocking to Mar-a-Lago all spring to kiss his ring had both energized him, he said, and proved the value of his stock.
“We have had so many, and so many are coming in,” Trump said. “It’s been pretty amazing. You see the numbers. They need the endorsement. I don’t say this in a braggadocious way, but if they don’t get the endorsement, they don’t win.”
But future elections were not front and center in his mind. A past election was. Trump was fixated on his loss in 2020, returning to this wound repeatedly throughout the interview.
“In a certain way, I had two presidencies,” he said. In the first, when the economy was roaring, Trump argued that he had been unbeatable, never mind that his approval rating was never higher than 46 percent in the Gallup poll during his first three years as president.
“I think it would be hard if George Washington came back from the dead and he chose Abraham Lincoln as his vice president, I think it would have been very hard for them to beat me,” Trump said. [Continue reading…]