Trump himself isn’t going to get convicted by the Senate and say, “Well, I’m a little disappointed to be honest. But it was a close call, and Mike Pence is a great guy, and I’m just grateful I had the opportunity to serve in the White House for more than three years.”
He won’t go away quietly to lick his wounds. He won’t delete his Twitter account. He won’t make it easy on anyone. He will vent his anger and resentment at every opportunity. It will be “human scum” every single day.
And it isn’t as though the media is going to lose its interest in the most luridly telegenic politician that we have ever seen. The mainstream press would be delighted to see Trump destroyed yet sad to bid him farewell. The obvious way to square the circle would be to continue to give Trump lavish coverage in his post-presidency. He’d be out of the White House but still driving screaming CNN chyrons every other hour.
In other words, Trump’s removal wouldn’t be a fresh start for Pence and the GOP; it would be more like getting stuck in the poisonous epilogue of the Trump era, awaiting the inevitable advent of the Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg era.