For the first time in the history of the USA four former Presidents have condemned a serving President.
Mr Donald Trump will go down in history as the worst President who ever occupied White House. On Wednesday the sixth, at the end of a speech he made, not too far from the Capitol, the citadel of American democracy, Trump’s hooligans were asked by him to walk to the Capitol to prevent Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. The last day for Congress to confirm this was 6 January. Vice-President Mike Pence defied President Trump to preside over the deliberations in the Senate for this purpose.
For many days, President Trump and his lumpen supporters were announcing that 6 January 2021 was to be the day of reckoning. A day to assemble in Washington to “Save America” and stop the steal of the election he had lost; he continues to vigorously maintain that he had won by a “landslide”. When the crowd of his followers assembled he made an utterly irresponsible and incendiary speech. At the end of his speech, he asked them to go to the Capitol. He did not tell them to conduct themselves peacefully. So they went on a rampage. He could not do so because he had announced that, there would be a “Big protest in D.C on January 6th”.
Mayhem followed. It was no longer a protest. In the words of President-elect Joe Biden, it was an insurrection. The mob and armed rioters had broken doors and windows, walked into the Rotunda—an almost sacred place. They destroyed the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. One rioter occupied her chair. He placed a placard which read, “We are not giving up. We will be back again.” One of the gangsters carried a 19th century confederation flag, was half naked, wearing a headgear out of which came out two horns. I thought I was watching a horror movie.
Next came the turn of the Senate. One menacing man, ill clad, occupied the chair on which Vice-President Mike Pence had been sitting. He had been escorted out of the room by his security squad. Both Houses had adjourned. Members were also taken to safe hideouts.
After nearly two hours President Trump asked the rioters to vacate the capital. It became clear that he was the ring master.
But American democracy did not collapse, it bounced back, although it had been badly bruised and shaken. The two House met at 3 am and declared that Joe Biden would be President and Kamala Harris Vice-President.
US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer asked Vice-President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to remove the President. If he did not do so the President would be impeached. The 25th amendment lays down that if a President, no longer fit for the office he should be removed and the Vice-President take over.
When Donald Trump got to know of this development, he announced, “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out (they don’t) nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th… This represents one of the greatest first term in presidential history…”
This is mind boggling. The worst ever President continues to delude himself.
The reaction in the United States of this shameful event is widespread. For the first time in the history of the USA four former Presidents have condemned a serving President. Jimmy Carter, now 96, said, “This is a national tragedy…. I know that we the people can unite to walk back from this precipice to peacefully uphold the laws of our nations, and we must.”
Bill Clinton: “The assault was fuelled by four years of poison politics spreading deliberate disinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitching Americans against one another. The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the election he lost.”
George Bush: “it is a sickening and heart-breaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic…. The violent assault on the Capital- and disruption of a constitutionally- mandated meeting of Congress- was undertaken by people whose passions have been aroused by falsehood and false hopes.”
Barack Obama: “History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capital, incited by a sitting President who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonour and shame on our nation. But we would be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise”.
Prime Minister Modi’s statement on this outrage was most appropriately worded.
The fourth and final volume of the autobiography of Pranab Mukherjee, unlike the earlier three is fascinatingly revealing, with gripping to secret incidents. The book moved me. He was the thirteenth President. I would place him next to Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr S. Radhakrishnan and Dr Zakir Hussian. His political life was longer than of any Indian politician. The book is an important and gripping valuable contribution to contemporary Indian history, in the making of it he played so stellar a role.
It is such a pity that he did not live to see the book. He would have been pleased to note its wide demand.