At Once Diminished and Dominating, Trump Prepares for His Next Act

WASHINGTON — Donald J. Trump, the previous president of the United States, commutes to New York City from his New Jersey golf membership to work out of his workplace in Trump Tower at the very least as soon as per week, slipping in and out of Manhattan with out attracting a lot consideration.

The place isn’t as he left it. Many of his longtime workers are gone. So are a lot of the relations who as soon as labored there with him and a number of the fixtures of the place, like his former lawyer Michael D. Cohen, who’ve since turned on him. Mr. Trump works there, largely alone, with two assistants and just a few physique males.

His political operation has additionally dwindled to a ragtag crew of former advisers who’re nonetheless on his payroll, harking back to the bare-bones solid of characters that helped carry a political neophyte to his unlikely victory in 2016. Most of them go days or even weeks with out interacting with Mr. Trump in individual.

But as he heads to the North Carolina Republican conference on Saturday evening, in what’s billed because the resumption of rallies and speeches, Mr. Trump is each a diminished determine and an outsized presence in American life, with a exceptional — and many say harmful — maintain on his social gathering.

Even with out his favored megaphones and the trimmings of workplace, Mr. Trump looms over the political panorama, animated by the lie that he received the 2020 election and his personal fury over his defeat. And not like others with a grievance, he has been in a position to impose his anger and most popular model of actuality on a considerable slice of the American citizens — with the potential to affect the nation’s politics and weaken religion in its elections for years to come back.

Still blocked from Twitter and Facebook, he has struggled to discover a technique to affect information protection since leaving workplace and promote the fabrication that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Some social gathering leaders, just like the Senate minority chief, Mitch McConnell, are pretending he doesn’t exist anymore, whereas being deferential when Mr. Trump can’t be ignored.

Others, like Senator Rick Scott of Florida, have tried to curry favor by presenting Mr. Trump with made-up awards to flatter his ego and maintain him engaged in serving to Senate Republicans recapture a majority in 2022.

Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, mentioned Mr. Trump had defied the mannequin of ex-presidents who lose an election and are likely to fade away, and the expertise of Richard M. Nixon, who was handled like a pariah in the way in which Mr. Trump has managed to keep away from.

As for being concurrently massive and small, Mr. Beschloss mentioned: “He’s big if the metric is that politicians are afraid of him, which is one metric of power in Washington. Many Republican leaders are terrified of him and abasing themselves in front of him.”

Jason Miller, an adviser to the previous president, agreed on Mr. Trump’s management over the social gathering.

“There are two types of Republicans inside the Beltway,” Mr. Miller mentioned. “Those who realize President Trump is the leader of the Republican Party and those who are in denial.”

Even in defeat, Mr. Trump stays the front-runner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024 in each public ballot up to now. Lawmakers who’ve challenged his dominance of the social gathering, like Representative Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who implored her colleagues to reject him after the Jan. 6 riot by his supporters on the Capitol, have been booted from Republican management.

From his unusual twin perch of irrelevance and dominance, Mr. Trump has been narrowly centered on three issues — his repeated, false claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and his assist for efforts to attempt to overturn the outcomes; the state and native investigations into the practices of the Trump Organization; and the state of his enterprise.

Mr. Trump, who White House officers mentioned watched with pleasure as his supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the Jan. 6 certification of the Electoral College vote, has informed a number of individuals he believes he may very well be “reinstated” to the White House this August, in line with three individuals conversant in his remarks. He has been echoing a idea promulgated by supporters like Mike Lindell, the chief government of MyPillow, and Sidney Powell, the lawyer being sued for defamation by election machine firms for spreading conspiracy theories concerning the security of their ballots.

President Biden’s victory, with greater than 80 million votes, was licensed by Congress as soon as the Jan. 6 riot was contained. There isn’t any authorized mechanism for reinstating a president, and the efforts by Republicans within the Arizona Senate to recount the votes within the state’s largest county have been derided as faux and inept by native Republican officers, who say the result’s a partisan circus that’s eroding confidence in elections.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump has zeroed in on the Arizona effort and a lawsuit in Georgia to insist that not solely will he be restored to workplace, however that Republicans can even retake the bulk within the Senate by those self same efforts, in line with the individuals conversant in what he has been saying.

Mr. Trump’s supporters demonstrated outdoors the Dallas County elections workplace in Dallas in November.Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

He has pressed conservative commentators and writers to echo his claims that the election was rigged. His focus has intensified in latest weeks, coinciding with the empaneling of a particular grand jury by Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district lawyer, into his companies.

Frustrated by the shortage of protection, he has expressed his anger in information releases that also consult with him because the “45th President of the United States.”

“Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife,” he mentioned in an announcement on Friday after Facebook introduced it will maintain its ban towards him in place for at the very least two years. “It will be all business!”

Last week, he shut down his weblog after listening to from pals that the positioning was getting little site visitors and making him look small and irrelevant, in line with an individual conversant in his considering.

Some of his aides will not be keen to have interaction with him on his conspiracy theories and wish to see him press a forward-looking agenda that would assist Republicans in 2022. People in his circle joke that essentially the most senior adviser to the previous chief of the free world is Christina Bobb, a correspondent with the far-right, eternally pro-Trump One America News Network, whom he consults often for details about the Arizona election audit.

It stays to be seen what he says concerning the 2020 election throughout his look in North Carolina.

Mr. Trump was wanting to take again the microphone on Saturday evening in Greenville, the place aides mentioned he deliberate to assault Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s high infectious illness professional, in addition to the Biden administration.

“Joe Biden wants American taxpayers to pay reparations,” Mr. Trump was anticipated to say, in line with an aide concerned in drafting the speech. “I want the Chinese to pay American taxpayers reparations.”

Mr. Trump’s first post-presidential rally is scheduled for later in June, adopted by extra appearances each for himself, paid for by his tremendous PAC, and on behalf of House Republicans who assist his agenda, advisers mentioned.

He has been so keen for an viewers that he’s even billed as a speaker who will seem dwell, through Jumbotron, at a rally in New Richmond, Wis., the place the opposite headliners are Diamond and Silk, the MAGA motion social media stars, and Dinesh D’Souza, who obtained a presidential pardon from Mr. Trump for a felony conviction of creating unlawful marketing campaign contributions.

Despite the modest nature of a number of the occasions he’s occupied with attaching his title to, even a few of his greatest detractors are loath to write down him off.

“I wish I was more confident it was ridiculous,” mentioned Bill Kristol, a outstanding “Never Trump” conservative. “It’s missing the forest through the trees to fail to see how strong he is.”

Contractors packing containers containing poll tallies in the course of the much-criticized Arizona Senate’s evaluation of the vote within the state’s largest county.Credit…Courtney Pedroza for The New York Times

Both of his 2020 marketing campaign managers, Bill Stepien and Brad Parscale, are on Mr. Trump’s payroll and nonetheless concerned in his world. But Mr. Trump is episodically enraged with most members of his crew.

This time round, Jared Kushner, his son-in-law who oversaw his 2020 marketing campaign operation, has largely dropped out, telling the small circle of advisers across the ex-president that he needs to deal with writing his ebook and establishing a less complicated relationship with Mr. Trump, the place he’s only a son-in-law. Donald Trump Jr. has stepped in as essentially the most politically concerned member of the family in his father’s life.

Susie Wiles, the veteran Florida political marketing consultant whom the previous president and everybody in his orbit credit score with successful the vital state in 2016 and once more in 2020, oversees Mr. Trump’s fund-raising operation from Florida, shepherding the weekly convention name of the skeletal crew that also runs the post-presidential operation.

In the evenings, Mr. Trump has attended fund-raisers at his Bedminster, N.J., golf course, each for his personal political motion committee and for Republican candidates.

But he has been wanting to get again to holding rallies, asserting states the place he deliberate to journey to earlier than his crew had finalized any venues or dates.

“If you’re a one-term president, you usually go quietly into the night,” mentioned Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “He sees himself as leading the revolution, and he’s doing it from the back of a golf cart.”