Millions of Americans — 88.7 million of them, to be precise — have been waking up for the last three weeks with an unfamiliar sense of emptiness. Reaching for their phones for their accustomed fix of outrage and bemusement, an erratically capitalized, eccentrically punctuated guide to the obsessions and grievances that would drive the day’s news cycle, they are forced to acknowledge that the once unthinkable has occurred: @RealDonaldTrump is really gone for good from Twitter.
And not just Twitter: The man whose office refers to him as “45th President Donald J. Trump” has been almost entirely silent in public since Jan. 20, when he became what the rest of the country knows as “former President Trump.” No raucous rallies featuring “two-minute hates” against the media. No impromptu tarmac question-and-answer sessions with reporters. No rambling phone chats with Fox News hosts, the ones that sometimes went on so long the interviewers had to gently cut him off by reminding him of how busy he must be. Even the 2024 campaign that he was widely expected to launch on Jan. 21 hasn’t gotten off the ground, except for the part that involves raising money.