Former president Donald Trump will have an official portrait in the National Portrait Gallery at some point. And in states where he remains popular, he could have airports, bridges and schools named for him. But Trump must never have an official presidential library, and Congress should move quickly to make sure he never will.
Things would seem to be moving toward establishing a Trump library. On Jan. 20, the day he left office, the National Archives launched the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library website. Already, there are rumors that the former president is engaged with the idea of creating some kind of presidential center, perhaps run by longtime aide Dan Scavino, with a price tag as high as $2 billion. Even before Trump left office, a sophisticated parody site, djtrumplibrary.com, began attracting admirers for its sharp architectural and design satire on what has become the norm in presidential centers. But it also deftly skewered the larger scam that has become attached to the presidency: the use of presidential libraries and museums to entrench perpetual fundraising and hagiography as a permanent part of every post-presidential career.
None of this, however, means that Trump could actually create a presidential center similar to the one planned for former president Barack Obama, or those dedicated to former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. As Anthony Clark, author of “The Last Campaign: How Presidents Rewrite History, Run for Posterity & Enshrine Their Legacies,” wrote recently in Politico, it is unlikely that Trump has the focus, administrative savvy and financial resources to execute a presidential center: “Presidential libraries are complicated. And if you understand how they work — and how Trump himself works — it’s nearly impossible to imagine him actually pulling it off,” Clark writes.
What I think is going to happen is that Scavino and others will engage in a huge grifting operation to get the rubes to give their money for this and it will never be built because all the money will disappear into various Swiss bank accounts. On the other hand, who wants a palace to celebrate themselves more than Donald Trump?
I admit I am really curious here.