Trump considers starting new political party as term ends

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US President Donald Trump is considering the possibility of launching a new political party as his White House tenure draws to a close, according to a Tuesday report.

Trump discussed the possibility with associates in recent days, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

Trump is seeking to wield political power after he steps down from office on Wednesday and wants to call the new faction the “Patriot Party” if it gets off the ground, the report said.

It’s not clear how serious he is about the project, the report said. Starting a new party would require considerable resources and Trump’s legal and financial future is uncertain.

The project would also probably face stiff resistance from the Republican party establishment.

Trump enjoys widespread support among the Republican base despite his incitement of a mob that stormed the US Capitol earlier this month, the uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak that has killed 400,000 Americans, his recent feuding with Republican leaders and other controversies.

Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6 following a speech by the president outside the White House in which he repeated his false claims to have won the presidential election. Five people died in the mayhem, including a Capitol Police officer.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives impeached Trump on January 13 for “inciting insurrection” and he faces a potential trial in the Senate after he leaves office on Wednesday. If convicted by the Senate, Trump could be barred from running in the 2024 presidential race.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnel on Tuesday said that Trump’s supporters who attacked the Capitol were “provoked” by the president and “fed lies.”

The votes of 17 Republican senators would be needed to convict Trump in the Senate and McConnell has not ruled out voting for conviction. Democrat Chuck Schumer is expected to take over as Senate Majority Leader on Wednesday, but McConnell will remain an influential voice in the Republican Party.

Trump wished luck to the new administration in a farewell video released on Tuesday but did not mention Biden’s name. He has remained largely out of sight since the storming of the Capitol and has been stripped of his social media bullhorns.

He is set to leave Washington for Florida early Wednesday morning, hours ahead of Biden’s inauguration. He has refused to take part in the ceremonial peaceful transfer of power and will become the first outgoing president in over a century to skip the inauguration of his successor.

The inauguration will take place under heavy security due to fears of more political violence, with the public kept away from the Capitol complex and some 25,000 US National Guard troops deployed to Washington.

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