Dozens of articles have been written over the last month about the chances of impeaching President Donald Trump. Hundreds of column inches have discussed how Republicans could force Trump out, how Trump might be forced to resign if he’s revealed to have ties to Russia, how Trump’s tax return could sink his presidency. Impeachment remains unlikely but there is another tantalizing possibility – Trump might just get sick of being president.
Some basic facts: being president is hard. It’s no joke that presidents seem to age prematurely. The US president is the most powerful man in the world and that kind of power – literally life or death, war or peace – places extraordinary pressure on a president. Many presidents have seen their health deteriorate, suffered long, sleepless nights and wondered if it was all worth it.
Trump’s specific experience seems to show that he is not happy in his job. It didn’t take long before reports came from the White House that Trump wasn’t ‘enjoying’ his presidency because of bad news coverage. Other recent leaks from White House staffers claimed that Trump wants to run the country like a business and is frustrated that he can’t.
One thing presidents always have to deal with is criticism. Even the most popular presidents experience near constant criticism from the opposition party, from dissatisfied members of their own party, the media and ordinary people opposed to his policies. Trump does not enjoy criticism or respond well to it. His bizarre attacks on the media are clear evidence that even minor criticism gets under his skin in a way most professional politicians have learned to avoid.
Trump enjoys his rallies, he enjoys being surrounded by loyal supporters and he enjoys making snap decisions that are instantly obeyed. This behavior is not a winning strategy for the presidency. Trump has become increasingly hostile and erratic, as more and more leaks indicate. It looks a lot like Trump is getting sick of being president.
So what if Trump wakes up one day at 3am and tweets that he’s fed up with his job? Trump has always done things primarily to please and benefit himself. He has abandoned businesses when they were struggling (and their shareholders along with them) and happily abandoned people when they no longer serve his purpose. The chances Trump will cut and run are not insignificant.
Trump could easily decide to do an Atlantic City and abandon the business of being president, leaving others to clean up his mess. This is a well-established pattern for Trump. Trump’s public behavior and leaked information about his administration will show whether the president is contemplating jumping ship. It’s in his character, and could happen sooner than people expect.