Trump becomes most vocal ex-president since Teddy Roosevelt: Over 400 statements since WH exit

As the chaos in Afghanistan unfolded, people around the world were clamoring to hear from President Biden, who was on vacation at Camp David.

What they got in his absence was a steady drumbeat of statements from his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who gleefully carped from the sidelines over the catastrophe.

More than a half-dozen press releases boiled down to one sentiment that he delivered in characteristic capital letters: “MISS ME YET?”

The man who blazed new paths with his words in the White House is still at it, running perhaps the noisiest, rowdiest and wackiest ex-presidency in American history.

In slightly more than 200 days since he left office, Mr. Trump has fired off over 400 statements and press releases through his Save America political action committee and his official office as the 45th president.

Targets include Rep. Liz Cheney (a “warmongering fool”); his own Supreme Court picks (“gutless”); his attorney general, William P. Barr (“RINO”); media outlets (Fox News, the Atlantic, The New York Times); Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (“the most overrated man in politics”); Medina Spirit, a Kentucky Derby horse, (a “junky”); and the U.S. women’s soccer team (“leftist maniacs”) with a special emphasis on star player Megan Rapinoe (the “woman with the purple hair”).

But his favorite topic has been the 2020 election, which has been the subject of more than 60 statements over the last seven months, as Mr. Trump pursues an unprecedented campaign to discredit the results that cost him the White House.

Donald Trump has never been a traditional political candidate nor a traditional president. You’d expect that he’d be just as unconventional post-presidency,” said Jay Williams, a GOP strategist.

Mr. Trump started out slowly, by his standards. His PAC released only a couple of statements in January, then a few more in February.

He started to pick up speed in March with 22, and April with 27. Then the floodgates opened. There were more than 50 in May, nearly 80 in June, and almost 120 in July.

Halfway through August, he’s on the verge of surpassing 60.

Former President George W. Bush largely took a breather from politics after his 2009 departure, saying his successor, President Barack Obama, “deserves my silence.”

Mr. Obama took a little bit of a more active role, releasing his first public statement roughly two months after leaving office, defending his signature achievement: Obamacare.

His first public appearance came in April 2017, when he participated in a town hall-style discussion with young people on “community organizing and civic engagement” at the University of Chicago.

Mr. Trump’s name never crossed his lips.

Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama welcomed their successors to the White House, attended their inaugurations and wished them luck before they left town.

Mr. Trump skipped Mr. Biden‘s inauguration. He then issued his first press release seven days after leaving office — an attack on Ms. Cheney — then made his first public appearance in late February at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida.

He struck at Mr. Biden early into his 90-minute address and went on to mention the 46th president 39 times.

Mr. Trump also used the speech to lash out at Ms. Cheney and other Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach or convict him during his second trial in the House and Senate.

He told the crowd he hopes to “get rid of them all” in the 2022 election. It has been a similar story at the campaign-style rallies that he has held in Ohio, Florida and Arizona, where he griped about the “RINO” state lawmakers in Michigan and Pennsylvania who have refused to fully embrace his stolen-election claims.

“He has his own way, and his own voice,” said Mr. Williams, the GOP strategist. “I do think his reach will wane over time, but as long as the press keeps attacking, him he’ll continue to be relevant and supported by Republicans, even if just out of plain spite for the media.”

H.W. Brands, a historian at the University of Texas at Austin, said the closest parallel to Mr. Trump is President Theodore Roosevelt, who left office in 1909.

“He was quite ungracious as a former president, assailing President Woodrow Wilson on matters relating to World War I in a tone that might have had him jailed for sedition if he hadn’t been a former president,” Mr. Brands said. “Trump puts his own distinctive spin on things, but the phenomena are similar.”

It’s likely no coincidence that Roosevelt ran again in 1912 against his chosen successor, William Taft — whose presidency he had become increasingly dissatisfied with — launching what proved to be a failed third-party bid to reclaim the White House.

Mr. Trump, too, is eyeing a return engagement.

And Mr. Trump is doing it all without direct access to the social media platforms that he wielded to launch and sustain his political career.

It turns out his voice has only been slightly muted by the tech companies’ blockade. The president’s statements, posted by journalists and shared by millions of users, still penetrate deep into the social media conversation. And even the cable networks that have tsk-tsked the former president’s behavior continue to devote coverage to his words, further expanding his reach.

The New York Times calculated that an Oct. 8 tweet from Mr. Trump while still in office, deriding Mr. Biden and running mate Kamala Harris for “constantly” lying, was liked and shared more than 501,000 times.

Months later, after the ban, Mr. Trump put out a statement on his website that said he handed Mr. Biden the “most secure” border in history, only to have him turn “national triumph into a national disaster.” That statement was liked and shared 661,000 times, the newspaper reported.

A large portion of Mr. Trump’s post-office tweets compared his record to Mr. Biden’s on immigration, the coronavirus pandemic, federal infrastructure spending, taxes and Afghanistan.

As Afghanistan plunged into chaos he said Mr. Biden should “resign in disgrace.”

“The outcome in Afghanistan, including the withdrawal, would have been totally different if the Trump Administration had been in charge,” he said.

The charge came months after he pressed the Biden administration to stick with his plan for a May 1 troop withdrawal and credited himself for making it possible.

“Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long,” he said. “Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. “

Mr. Trump’s score-settling has targeted one-time allies, as well as sports icons who have crossed him.

Mr. Trump said Vice President Mike Pence showed a lack of “courage” in certifying the election results. He said General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “ought to resign.”

He said former House Speaker Paul Ryan is “a curse to the Republican Party,” former Bush adviser Karl Rove is “a pompous fool,” and his former National Security Adviser John Bolton is a “failed warmonger.”

He said Dr. Anthony Fauci is the “King of flip-flops” on the coronavirus and mocked the fact that Dr. Fauci “couldn’t throw a baseball even close to home plate” in a ceremonial opening pitch.

He said basketball player LeBron James is presiding over the demise of the NBA and that “His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning.”

He said he has “gotten to know (and like)” North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un. He said his supporters should “stick with Kristie Alley!” and defend former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, dubbing him the “Eliot Ness of his generation.”

He repeatedly touted his iron grip on the GOP, endorsed candidates across the country, and argued he deserves more credit for vaccines.

He congratulated the country of Nigeria for banning Twitter after it deleted a post from President Muhammadu Buhari, and wished everyone a Happy Father’s Day “ including the Radical Left, RINOs, and other Losers of the world.”

He also found time to issue statements from his perch as the ex-president promoting his golf course in Scotland as “the best in the World” and said it was not chosen to host the Open Championship “because they consider a wonderful person, and many-time Club Champion, named Donald J. Trump, to be too controversial.”

“This is, of course, a false reputation caused mainly by the Fake News Media,” he said. “It is a shame that the phenomenal Turnberry Golf links, the best in the World, sits empty during Open Championships, while far lesser courses are on display.”

“Oh well, life proceeds forward!” Mr. Trump said.