Ron Elving

When former President Donald Trump was still in office and holding rallies, he often shouted a question that provoked howls of raucous laughter from the crowd: "Where's Hunter?"

Trump was referring derisively to Hunter Biden, the son of the man who is now President Biden. Beautiful Things: A Memoir is Hunter's answer to Trump's question. He wants to tell us where he is, where he has been, and what it has taken to get him from there to here.

The Saudi crown prince may escape punishment for his order to kill a columnist. A pandemic relief package is moving through Congress. Donald Trump remains popular with conservative activists.

In the last 28 months, the Republican Party has lost the White House and lost control of both chambers of Congress.

With the shock of those setbacks still sinking in, the party has been rocked and riven by former President Donald Trump's refusal to concede, a pro-Trump riot in the U.S. Capitol, and an impeachment effort that even some Republicans backed.

A month has passed since the shocking invasion of the U.S. Capitol by rioters bent on blocking the official recognition of the presidential election results, but the aftershocks have not stopped.

More than 200 people have now been charged with various crimes, ranging from illegal trespassing to attacks on police officers to conspiracies to kidnap members of Congress. Federal authorities have opened investigations into about 200 other individuals who have yet to be charged.

The Senate had a test vote this week that cast deep doubt on the prospects for convicting former President Donald Trump on the impeachment charge now pending against him. Without a two-thirds majority for conviction, there will not be a second vote in the Senate to bar him from future federal office.

After a lifetime of membership in exclusive clubs, President Trump is about to join one against his will.

It is the club of one-term presidents.

There is surely no dishonor in serving a single term in the nation's highest office. Trump will bring to 23 the number of presidents who had the job for just four years or fewer, so the club includes about half of all those who have taken the oath. Five presidents died while in their first term (two by assassination). Several who stepped in for one of these fallen presidents completed the remainder of that term and left.

It took a building to bring down Donald Trump.

Unleashing the angriest of his supporters this week against the U.S. Capitol may have been only the culmination of Trump's 60-month campaign against the Washington establishment.

But it was also its undoing. And his.

When the crowd that Trump whipped up on the Ellipse marched up the National Mall with his blessing and encouragement, they became a mob assaulting and invading the Capitol.

The collapse of President Trump's administration in its final fortnight will surely downgrade his already damaged standing in history. It may also make all previously published books about his one-term presidency seem truncated.

The horror of seeing extreme Trump backers barging past U.S. Capitol Police, driving out the Congress and disrupting completion of the 2020 election will darken what we remember of the Trump years in toto. More than a few manuscripts may come back to authors for additions and revisions.

Many in Washington, D.C., are worried about civil unrest on Wednesday, as the Proud Boys, a group labeled as extremists by the FBI, and other activists gather to protest just as Congress begins to add its imprimatur to last month's Electoral College vote.

That congressional vote will be the final formality leading to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden two weeks later.

President Trump is ending his presidency with a flurry of chaos.

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President Trump's refusal to concede and the delayed transition to the administration of President-elect Joe Biden have raised many questions about the transfer of power in our system.

One in particular has long been asked: Why do we wait until the latter part of January to swear in a president we elect in November? Put another way: How is it that the Brits can have a newly elected prime minister meeting with the queen to form a new government within a day or two, but we need 10 or 11 weeks to install a new crew?

This year's election was among the most anticipated and perhaps most consequential in U.S. history.

But it was not an easy election to celebrate. The results rolled in over several days and sometimes seemed confusing. Even now, President Trump has refused to concede. While the outcome is not really in doubt, it is still disputed by the ousted president and his most fervent followers.

In the spring of 2004, a young state legislator was driving home from a campaign event in rural Illinois when he got a phone call from Washington. A voice asked if he would be interested in giving the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that summer in Boston.

"That I felt neither giddy nor nervous said something about the sheer improbability of the year I'd just had," that legislator now recalls in his new memoir, A Promised Land.

For weeks, the world wondered whether President Trump would win a second term. Now that election officials and observers have declared his opponent "President-elect Joe Biden," the world wonders whether Trump will concede.

So far, the president has not. Instead, he has said that he won the election "if you count the legal votes" and that he will pursue numerous challenges to the vote-counting process in court. Earlier in the fall, he had said he would agree to a peaceful transfer of power unless the election was "rigged."

Biden will take the presidency during the "most difficult time in history."

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Not since the beginning of time has anyone ever made greater use of superlatives than Donald Trump. He has constantly been "the most" this, "the least" that and always the "best ever."

What do you do when Election Day is a week away, you're down in the polls and more than 60 million votes have already been cast?

If you're President Trump, you hit the road. And you hit it big time, mounting rally stages and treating big raucous crowds to big servings of red meat.

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The Week In Politics

Oct 10, 2020

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No sooner had it become known that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus than controversy arose over the amount and detail and truthfulness of the information about his condition that was coming from the White House.

President Trump has been hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus. Doctors gave an update on his condition Saturday.

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Through the years President Trump has been in office, Americans have grown accustomed to hearing of "norms" ignored and "guardrails" broken. Trump has fulfilled his supporters' desire for an unconventional leader unbound by the sort of unwritten rules other presidents have followed.

Rarely in American history has the death of anyone other than a sitting president unleashed so much political anxiety as the passing of U.S. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

With all the grief her death caused for millions — and all the respectful tributes that poured in, even from adversaries — fundraising appeals were popping up on Twitter the same night keyed to the politics of her replacement.

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster wants you to know he has not written the book you probably wanted to read — and he says it right up front.

"This is not the book that most people wanted me to write ... a tell-all about my experience in the White House to confirm their opinions of Donald Trump," the author warns in his preface.

That might have been "lucrative," he says, but it would not be "useful or satisfactory for most readers."

No reader should skip the prologue to Bob Woodward's new book on President Trump, because the author puts his best scene on its first page.

Woodward's Rage opens on the Oval Office, where the two top officials from the president's national security team are telling him that COVID-19 is a major threat to the U.S. and far worse than the flu.

"This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency," says Robert O'Brien, the national security adviser (Trump's fourth). "This is going to be the roughest thing you face."

The 2020 Republican National Convention this week began and ended with two performances by the man who designed it all, President Donald J. Trump.

Most of the attention went, of course, to the final night's event, when a live audience saw him "profoundly accept" his renomination in an hourlong speech delivered on the South Lawn of the White House. Backed by a forest of American flags, the president looked out upon members of his family and staff, members of his Cabinet and members of his party in Congress.

It turns out going virtual has its virtues.

Just ask the Democrats, grinning and basking after their first-ever online national convention this week.

No one knew what to expect, and there were plenty of doubters looking for glitches, flubbed cues and dead air — not to mention lots of dull and boring segments. Most significantly, we feared all involved would miss the sense of history being made in real time.

When former Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. becomes the Democratic Party's official nominee for president on Thursday, he will complete two historic and improbable comebacks.

Earlier this year, Biden rose from roadkill status in early February voting to effectively claim the nomination by the end of March.

At some point in the future, it is entirely possible that the full details of Donald Trump's business affairs, personal imbroglios and political maneuverings will be laid bare to the public. Should that happen, it is easy to imagine much of the world wondering how the man got away with so much for so long.

President Trump has long been a champion of what's been called positive thinking — the power to make things that you want to see happen actually happen.

"Affirm it, believe it, visualize it, and it will actualize itself." Such mantras have characterized much of the Trump story from his childhood when he first absorbed it from the man who first spoke it, Norman Vincent Peale.

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