The Post-Campaign Campaign of Donald Trump

Charles Homans in The New York Times:

TrumpTownship, Pa., that a sense of what exactly it was that I was watching — what I and everyone else had been watching throughout Trump’s presidency to that point — finally clicked into place with startling clarity. This was in early March, in an unexpectedly pristine hangar by the Pittsburgh airport, its white floor buffed to a shine in which I could make out my reflection. The implicit purpose of the event was to bring some Trump magic to a fellow Republican’s faltering campaign. Moon Township is in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which Trump won in 2016 by nearly 20 points and where in three days, the Republican state representative Rick Saccone would narrowly lose a special congressional election to Conor Lamb, a Democrat who had never run for office.

Saccone took the stage briefly before Trump did, and his people were circulating in the hangar: normal-looking suburban Republican operatives and volunteers of the sort who are still jarring to see attached to the Trump roadshow, like insurance-claims adjusters piled into the bed of a monster truck. But this was a Trump event in spirit: the email advisory from Donald J. Trump for President Inc., his official presidential campaign committee, described it as a “campaign rally” but did not mention Saccone, explaining instead that Trump would “highlight the benefits that his historic tax cuts are providing hard-working families across Pennsylvania and to celebrate our booming economy now that America is once again open for business.” Onstage, Trump seemed to intermittently remember the tax cuts and the booming economy, and even more intermittently that he was supposed to be promoting the candidate, whom he had reportedly derided in private as “weak.” But he mostly did what he usually does at his rallies: recite the latest verse of the ballad of Donald Trump, the president who would be doing great things for the people in this room were it not for his many antagonists.

More here.