After Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate "any links and/or coordination" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in its election interference. Trump has repeatedly denied accusations of collusion and obstruction of justice, calling the investigation a politically motivated "witch hunt".
But some say the name-calling could turn into a plus for Democrats trying to break out in a crowded field. Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic consultant not working for any of the would-be candidates, referred to it as Trump’s “Darth Vader problem,” which leaves some he tries to strike down, including former White House aide and “Apprentice” star Omarosa Manigault Newman, “more powerful than they can imagine.”

The disproportionately large amounts of time that presidents have spent visiting key electoral states (and comparatively small amount of they have spent visiting states that pose little electoral importance to them) has been pointed to as evidence of ulterior electoral motives influencing presidential governance, emblematic of the blurred lines between campaigning and governance in the White House.[38][37] For instance, George W. Bush embarked on 416 domestic trips during his first three years in office. This was 114 more than his predecessor Bill Clinton made in his first three years.[37] In his first year, 36% of Bush's domestic trips were to the 16 states that were considered swing states after having been decided the closest margins during the 2000 election.[37] In his second year, 45% of his domestic travel was to these states, and his third year 39% of his domestic travel was to these states.[37]
A Honduran migrant girl kneels in front of a police checkpoint at the Agua Caliente border crossing in Ocotepeque, Honduras on Oct. 19, 2018. Honduran authorities intensified immigration control measures at the Agua Caliente point, bordering Guatemala, to prevent hundreds of Hondurans seeking to reach the USA from crossing into the neighboring country. Gustavo Amador, EPA-EFE
In 1985, Trump acquired the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, for $10 million, $7 million for the real estate and $3 million for the furnishings.[142][143] His initial offer of $28 million had been rejected, and he was able to obtain the property for the lower price after a real-estate market "slump".[144] The home was built in the 1920s by heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post.[145] After her death, her heirs unsuccessfully tried to donate the property to the government before putting it up for sale.[145][146] In addition to using a wing of the estate as a home, Trump turned Mar-a-Lago into a private club. In order to join, prospective members had to pay an initiation fee[147] and annual dues.[148] The initiation fee was $100,000 until 2016; it was doubled to $200,000 in January 2017.[149][150]

On June 12, 2018, after several rounds of preliminary staff-level meetings, Trump and Kim held a bilateral summit in Singapore.[663] In a joint declaration, both countries vowed to "join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula", while North Korea repeated its April 2018 promise to "work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."[664][665]
Pence’s political brain is a 36-year-old operative named Nick Ayers. During his meteoric rise to the top echelon of Republican strategists, Ayers developed a reputation as something of a Georgia-born Sammy Glick that left him with powerful enemies, including his colleagues in the West Wing. “Everybody knows Nick is not loyal to the president,” an administration official told me. “Trump thinks Nick is a backstabber. He does not trust him at all.” In August 2017, the Times reported that Ayers and Pence adviser Marty Obst were privately courting G.O.P. donors for a possible Pence run in 2020. Trump became furious this past April when he learned that Ayers had persuaded Pence to recruit a pollster named Jon Lerner to join the V.P.’s staff. According to a source briefed on the conversations, Kellyanne Conway told Trump that Lerner was a Never Trumper who’d once worked for Paul Singer, the G.O.P. mega-donor who funded the conservative politics website Free Beacon, which commissioned the oppo research firm that later produced the infamous Christopher Steele dossier. “Why would Mike do that?” Trump reportedly asked advisers. Lerner backed out of the job.
Pence’s political brain is a 36-year-old operative named Nick Ayers. During his meteoric rise to the top echelon of Republican strategists, Ayers developed a reputation as something of a Georgia-born Sammy Glick that left him with powerful enemies, including his colleagues in the West Wing. “Everybody knows Nick is not loyal to the president,” an administration official told me. “Trump thinks Nick is a backstabber. He does not trust him at all.” In August 2017, the Times reported that Ayers and Pence adviser Marty Obst were privately courting G.O.P. donors for a possible Pence run in 2020. Trump became furious this past April when he learned that Ayers had persuaded Pence to recruit a pollster named Jon Lerner to join the V.P.’s staff. According to a source briefed on the conversations, Kellyanne Conway told Trump that Lerner was a Never Trumper who’d once worked for Paul Singer, the G.O.P. mega-donor who funded the conservative politics website Free Beacon, which commissioned the oppo research firm that later produced the infamous Christopher Steele dossier. “Why would Mike do that?” Trump reportedly asked advisers. Lerner backed out of the job.
In 2013, New York State filed a $40 million civil suit against Trump University; the suit alleged that the company made false statements and defrauded consumers.[209][212] In addition, two class-action civil lawsuits were filed in federal court relating to Trump University; they named Trump personally as well as his companies.[213] During the presidential campaign, Trump criticized presiding Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, alleging bias in his rulings because of his Mexican heritage.[214][215] Shortly after Trump won the presidency, the parties agreed to a settlement of all three pending cases, whereby Trump paid a total of $25 million and denied any wrongdoing.[216][217]

To get more of a quantitative sense of the phrase’s evolution, I analyzed the Republican Party platform. All party platforms typically emphasize faith in American greatness, but between 1856 and 2008, the GOP never used the expression “American exceptionalism” or even the adjective “exceptional” to describe the country. By contrast, the final section of the 2012 Republican platform lambasting the Obama presidency was titled “American exceptionalism.” The 2016 platform put the phrase into the first line of its preamble: “We believe in American exceptionalism.” The evolution of “American exceptionalism” into an anti-Obama rallying cry with nativist overtones evoked earlier appeals to “states’ rights” to rouse whites resenting the end of segregation.


Although Trump's early campaign filing is extraordinarily unusual, aspects of a "permanent campaign" are not entirely unprecedented in American politics. Such a phenomenon had a presence in the White House at least as early as the presidency of Bill Clinton. Under the advice of Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton's staff continued to engage in campaign methodology once in office, using polling for assistance in making decisions.[27][37]
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