Jul 07, 2016 9:44 PM GMT
Presented in a recent interview with a scenario, floating around the political ether, in which the presumptive Republican nominee proves all the naysayers wrong, beats Hillary Clinton and wins the presidency, only to forgo the office as the ultimate walk-off winner, Mr. Trump flashed a mischievous smile.
“I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it happens,” he said, minutes before leaving his Trump Tower office to fly to a campaign rally in New Hampshire.
It is, of course, entirely possible that Mr. Trump is playing coy to earn more news coverage. But the notion of the intensely competitive Mr. Trump’s being more interested in winning the presidency than serving as president is not exactly a foreign concept to close observers of this presidential race.
Early in the contest, his rivals, Republican operatives and many reporters questioned the seriousness of his candidacy. His knack for creating controversy out of thin air (this week’s edition: the Star of David Twitter post) and his inclination toward self-destructive comments did not instill confidence in a political culture that values on-message discipline in its candidates.
Those doubts dissipated after Mr. Trump vanquished his Republican opponents and locked up the nomination.
“I’ve actually done very well,” Mr. Trump said. “We beat 18 people, right?”
But as the race has turned toward the general election and a majority of polls have shown Mr. Trump trailing Mrs. Clinton, speculation has again crept into political conversations in Washington, New York and elsewhere that Mr. Trump will seek an exit strategy before the election to avoid a humiliating loss....
...Now he is refusing to rule out an even more dramatic departure, one that would let him avoid the grueling job of governing, return to his business and enjoy his now-permanent status as a media celebrity.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/07/07/donald-trump-electoral-college/86807474/Trump after being elected president of the United States — an office he would've campaigned to win for more than 16 months by Election Day — would immediately walk away, triggering a constitutional quandary.
Apparently, Trump didn't completely dismiss the notion.
...The timing of Trump's hypothetical resignation of an office he'd won but wasn't sworn into would guide the succession procedure, the story notes. If it happened before the Electoral College met in December, the 538 electors would become quite powerful. If no one secured a majority, though, the House of Representatives would get to choose from among the top three finishers, per the Constitution.
However, Keyssar notes in the story that it's not really clear what the protocol would be if Trump bailed after the Electoral College ratified his election but prior to those electoral votes being tabulated during a joint session of Congress.
“Nothing like this has ever happened,”