WASHINGTON, D. C. At today's briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer, responding to a question about the possibility of a presidential resignation, offered this terse reply, "Donald Trump does not intend to abdicate." Spicer's surprising choice of words raised eyebrows. American presidents don't abdicate. They resign, or they are impeached. Abdicate is a term more appropriate to a Roman emperor or a British king. Abdicate also conveys an image of one seeking refuge in a friendly country, as the former Ukrainian president did when he fled to Russia.
When he abdicates, where would Trump seek sanctuary? How about San Francisco, a city noted for refusing to hand over felons to the feds for deportation?
He could schedule a stop in London during his upcoming trip to the Middle East. There he could seek asylum in the Peruvian embassy, which already protects another wanted figure, Julian Assange, whose Wikileaks expose of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign contributed immensely to Trump's election.
North Korea? Trump has made many friends in that communist state by his refusal to drop an a-bomb on their nuclear weapons complex. The missile attack in Syria and the big bomb dropped in Afghanistan showed that he had the guts to take action, but his restraint regarding North Korea has won him much support, When he meets with the North Korean leader in the demilitarized zone, Trump may simply walk into exile in Pyongyang.
Or picture Trump rooming with Edward Snowden in Moscow. Trump, like Snowden. has enough classified intelligence info to endear him to the Russians even more than he already is.
All of the potential homelands for Trump have downsides. San Francisco. facing the loss of federal funds under a Trump executive order punishing sanctuary cities, may surrender him to get the wanted dollars.
Regime change in Peru, actively engaged in by various American agencies, will bring a conservative government to power, forcing Trump and Assange out of the London embassy and into the hands of U. S. justice department agents.
The North Koreans can't be trusted, and instead of sanctuary for Trump, they may hold him as a fifth American hostage, held until the U. S accepts their nuclear weapons [program.
And the Russians may turn Trump over to their Syrian allies, to be used as a bargaining chip for peace talks.
In the end, Trump might be better off to await the outcome of impeachment by congress. As in the Nixon case, Mike Pence as president could pardon Trump, who could return quietly - well, his Tweets aren't exactly quiet - to his real estate business.
Chances are that Trump will muddle through. Don't rule out a successful second term campaign.
Ralph E. Shaffer is professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona. firstname.lastname@example.org