Fortunately, history offers a solution that could work to everyone’s advantage: political exile. The U.S. Constitution, of course, has no mechanism for imposing such a sentence on a former president, but Trump himself might enjoy following one particular precedent.
In April 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated the throne of France. Despite losing a massive army in Russia a year and a half earlier, he had continued to fight valiantly against a large allied coalition, but finally he was pushed back into his home territory and forced to surrender. By the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon agreed to leave France, and to renounce all claims by his family to the country.
It was a humiliation, but not a total one. The treaty allowed Napoleon to keep his title of “emperor” and gave him a new principality to rule: the Mediterranean island of Elba, off the coast of Tuscany and not far from his native Corsica—a pleasant place roughly the size of Martha’s Vineyard, with a craggy coastline and mild climate. Napoleon would have a spacious mansion to live in, a 400-man honor guard and a large staff. As “emperor of Elba” he would enjoy all the trappings of sovereignty, including a crown and flag. True, the British navy would keep watch to make sure he didn’t leave. Still, for someone whose aggressive wars had led to as many as 4 million deaths across Europe, it was a mild enough punishment. Soon after signing the treaty, Napoleon set off for his new home, with the British press mockingly asking whether he would have enough “Elba room” there.
Following this precedent, why not give Trump his own island realm, and an imperial title to go with it? The chance to call himself Emperor Donald I might satisfy even this most titanic of egos and make up for the humiliating election loss to “Sleepy Joe.” Trump could build himself a palace, copying the décor from his penthouse in Trump Tower, which was itself inspired by Versailles. He could install Rudy Giuliani as Grand Chamberlain, and William Barr as his Lord High Executioner. Ivanka and Don Jr. could fight over who would inherit the crown. As absolute monarch, Trump could ban abortion, immigration and taxes, while declaring gun ownership mandatory for all his subjects. He could build a new Trump International Hotel, fly in supporters to stay there, and then stage rallies with them to his heart’s content.
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