"The 45th": Why Trump is abandoning his iconic brand for a number

Branding is Trump’s business — even Bill Clinton called him a “master brander” — and he’s so protective of his name that one of his attorneys sent threatening letters demanding that the Republican National Committee and other GOP groups stop using his likeness in fundraising pitches (they refused).

“They can never take that number away from him,” said Sam Nunberg, who was one of Trump’s early political advisers before they parted ways. “Just psychologically, when you say President [Jimmy] Carter or you say President George H.W. Bush, you think ‘one-term president.’ But if you put the number, 45th president, the connection doesn’t come that fluidly.”

It also may help him avoid a reminder of being a loser.

Official communications from Trump, who refused to concede the 2020 election and falsely led supporters to believe he might overturn its results right up until Inauguration Day, never refer to him as the “former” president — he is always the “45th President of the United States of America.”