Trump returns to the capital to attract Republicans on his return

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Presidents typically wrap up their last full working day on January 19, make their final gesture to celebrate welcoming their successors and family into the White House the next day, and then book it in for a late date. vacation. Of course, they’ll return when the role’s legacy function requires –state funerals Comes to mind, as well as a picture Unveiling and natural disasters fundraising. But, at least for those who do not stay in the capital to allow their daughter ending In high school, they leave town as fast as they can and don’t look back much.

Then again, most past presidents are eager to fade into the tattered backdrop of history. This is certainly not a playbook in the hands of former President Donald Trump, who despite his mass exodus from Washington remains an agenda-setting figure in the city. His endorsement remains a powerful factor in Republican politics, his return to politics looms large for 2024, and his conduct before January 6, 2021 and his day dominate much of the congressional agenda. Much like his presidency, the post-presidency seems to be euphoric in shattering expectations. In fact, Trump went out Presidency before his successor appears and takes over, with effective strikes before his chariot returns to the pumpkin when the clock strikes noon.

Like a bad hype clip for reality show, Trump this week yields to Washington for the first time since leaving the presidency. Billed as the premier non-profit American Policy Institute Summit, the two-day event is dense on MAGA-World’s semi-celebrities and will feature a speech from a man who has been recovering from his wounds since 2020.

But somehow, the return of one of the most unforgiving characters to The Swamp comes as a small release for him counting a tour. Trump has behold He will be on the ballot in 2024, and his advisors at this point are just trying to stop him from participating Withdrawal The operator is in the campaign until after, after November midterm elections. Republicans seem poised to do well and can take back control of both the House and Senate, but Trump and his ongoing platform could cast a shadow over the GOP’s ballot if the party isn’t keen on it. control for bleeding. Trump remains a driving factor in politics, though the appetite for his cunning has waned as more time has passed since his tenure. As TIME’s Brian Bennett reports, the January 6 hearings may have exposed Trump’s hearing glass jaw.

so what he is Trump play here? He obviously sets his eyes on 2024 and sets the foundation for his return to office. His disdain for political elites did not subside, even as he retreated to Florida and then to New Jersey. The second act serves as much as the restoration of power as a way of attaching it to the man. After all, a lot of Trump animation Energy It comes from his personal preferences and individual grievances. But he may find the Republican more skeptical, with some recently souring on the Trump wing as they learned more and more violent details about Trump’s behavior around the January 6 rebellion.

The timing of the flight comes at a near-perfect moment run by the state. Apparently the commission investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol accomplishment her summer schedule and is preparing to begin drafting at least an early version of her report. Congress seems the coast In the August holiday. Voters are now just beginning to discipline themselves in the November elections. And Trump’s political circle appears ready to turn the switch on again. The MAGA crowd just needs a boost to remember why his raucous rallies have stirred so many hearts.

The real question facing official Washington – the Republicans who wield power – is one about the pain threshold. Trump has proven to be a winning ship in 2016 But he couldn’t convince enough voters that he was Deserves Drama every hour after four years. By 2024, it will be nine years since Trump coasts down a golden elevator at Trump Tower and set out to break up Republican politics. The party has yet to regain its balance. Meanwhile, the bold novelty of Trump’s candidacy has long faded, just like the way most of his predecessors blended into the background.

In other words: Trump’s most urgent mission this week in Washington is to… masked His fellow Republicans claim he deserves aspirin and squabble in pursuit of a possible but not guaranteed victory. It could take every ounce of his skills as a salesman.

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write to Philip Elliot in philip.elliott@time.com.

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