Trump sudden U-turn to condemn the Capitol riot, delivered by autocue through gritted teeth, was designed to serve just one purpose – prevent his cabinet from invoking the 25th Amendment.
Whether that supine body would have even gone so far is doubtful, but such was the reaction to Wednesday’s events that he had to play safe.
The likely result is that Trump will survive his remaining few days in the White House, and while, for many, he may go down in history as the worst US president in more than a century.
He retains a support base that is both determined and well-positioned to expand, given the many problems looming for the United States over the next four years.
If he survives various legal challenges, he will be sufficiently well-placed and funded to develop a powerful focus of dissent.
That being so, will these remaining days go smoothly? While many will hope so, there is one nagging issue: Iran.
And the problem may arise not in the White House, but with present-day Iranian politics and the rapid rise to ascendency in the country of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Ten days ago, the US Navy’s carrier group headed by the USS Nimitz was recalled to its home base, San Diego in California, following a long deployment to the West Pacific and the Middle East that started last June.
This was welcome news for the crew, who had been on board for nine months due to a pre-deployment COVID quarantine that started last April.
Then, last Sunday, the acting secretary of defence, Chris Miller, reversed the decision on Trump’s direct orders and the Nimitz carrier battle group remains on station close to the Persian Gulf.