Donald Trump would go down in American history as perhaps the worst President ever, even surpassing Andrew Johnson, regarded as the Head of Government, who brought disgrace to his coveted oval office. Investigations into the insurrection have brought some fresh facts to light, including a possible attempt to assassinate the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. A truck laden with bombs and other explosives, parked two blocks away from the Capitol, has also been traced, and various agencies are probing the manifold dimensions of the discovery. Trump now faces the prospect of being the only President to undergo impeachment twice and his declaration that he would not be attending the inauguration of Joe Biden on 20 January makes him the fourth President who has chosen this deplorable path. His actions, particularly his utterances that amounted to inciting a right-wing white supremacist mob on Wednesday last, could also result in the framing of criminal charges, once his term ends.
Trump has not only split the Republican party right down the middle, but has lowered the primary position the United States enjoyed amongst countries that support democracy. The US is no longer in any position to preach the tenets of self-rule when its own President has refused to accept the verdict of the people. Trump has somehow managed to convince his supporters that the election was stolen from him, even though the Congress has now certified the poll results, giving his opponent Joe Biden the clearance to go ahead and take the oath of office.
So far as the incumbent is concerned, he has breached this very oath, thus flouting the very Constitution that he was duty-bound to protect. He has isolated his country from several other developed nations and his successor would have a gigantic task of rebuilding the lost trust and relations, America has shared with its allies over so many years. The joke doing the rounds is that America had found it easy to appoint Presidents in many third world countries, but in its own territory, it is finding it difficult to get the lawful result accepted.
The downside of what has happened in the Capitol is that though Joe Biden would be sworn in as the President, Trump’s supporters may continue to wreak mayhem in various places.
All past Presidents, as well as prominent Republicans, have spoken out against Trump’s unconstitutional actions, yet it is unlikely that the “healing” would take place anytime soon as the road to reconciliation would be long and hard. Trump has left an indelible imprint on his legacy, which unfortunately goes against the tenets of what America claimed it stood for.
The Republican Party that has also lost control of the Senate, would find it extremely difficult to distance itself from the President, who till Wednesday appeared to have a stranglehold over its functioning, with most of the lawmakers supporting his challenge for a recount publicly. Since then, even his Vice President, Mike Pence seems to have backtracked, and is being persuaded to invoke the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution to press for his removal.
He seems reluctant but that could perhaps be the only way forward, with Nancy Pelosi also writing to the Army Chief and senior defence functionaries, to no matter how, ensure that the nuclear code which is with the President, is not put to wrong use.
Former President George Bush has accused Trump of morphing America into a banana republic, while Mitt Romney has demanded for his immediate removal.
The Republicans are worried that this action of Trump may also impact their future prospects. There are indications that the President may try for a re-run in 2024, but then there are so many other hopefuls—such as Ted Cruz—who were supporting him, yet are desirous of being Republican nominee as well. The irony is that the majority of Trump supporters are not traditional Republicans but totally identify themselves with the outgoing President. Some of these elements are associated with outlawed organisations, such as the Ku Klux Klan, and believe, like Trump, in white supremacist politics as opposed to multicultural values America has claimed it stood for. There has always been a strong relation between reality and perception, particularly in politics. Most of the Presidents before Trump strengthened the perception of America’s belief in democracy and projected to the world a completely contrasting picture than what is now coming through. They were all suave politicians with deep roots in Washington-controlled political agenda. A school of thought that has emerged over the past four years is of the view that Trump represented the reality of America, which had been carefully concealed by his predecessors, who also promoted the interests of big lobbies. In that sense, Trump followed what he thought was the right course and thus did not commence an aggressive war in any other country so as to divert the attention of the American people from the real issues; he did not function like a politician, and thereby ended up ruffling vested interests. He would have won, had he taken a more sensible view of the pandemic. He has managed to garner an unbelievable number of popular votes even in his defeat, and this could mean that Trumpism may not take a back seat.
He has been a bad loser and has chosen to defy the system. His supporters have shamed the country. In fact, there are lessons for the world to learn from the insurrection in Washington. Between us.