Less than 24 hours after CNN broke the news that Donald Trump’s legal team quit just a week before his second impeachment trial is set to begin, the ex-president sent out a press release announcing his new, new team.
And it was something.
The email subject line? “45th President Donald J. Trump Announces Legal Team.”
It’s first sentence? “45th President Donald J. Trump today announced that highly respected trial lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr., will head his impeachment defense legal team, bringing national profiles and significant trial experience in high-profile cases to the effort.”
The second sentence? “Notably, Schoen has already been working with the 45th President and other advisors to prepare for the upcoming trial, and both Schoen and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional – a fact 45 Senators voted in agreement with last week.”
The third sentence, which was a quote from Schoen: “‘It is an honor to represent the 45th President, Donald J. Trump, and the United States Constitution,’ said Schoen.”
How about the fourth sentence, a quote from Castor: “Castor added, ‘I consider it a privilege to represent the 45th President.'”
And did I mention the email came from “45 Office?”
This is, according to my armchair psychiatry degree, a classic case of overcompensating.
Donald Trump very much wants to remind absolutely everyone who sees this press release — or quotes from it — that he was the 45th president of the United States. The 45th. Forty and then another five. Four dozen minus three. The guy after the 44th president. You know, the 45th president.
There’s of course more here. Trump never called and congratulated President Joe Biden for winning the 2020 election. Many have feared that Trump would continue to try to run a sort of shadow presidency from outside the White House for his followers — preserving the myth that he is still kind of, sort of president. (He is, um, not.) All of this “45th President” stuff feels like a step in that direction.
And so, you get a press release like this one that mentions FIVE times in four paragraphs that he was the 45th president of the United States.
It’s more sad than anything else. But my guess is Trump doesn’t see it that way.