Wednesday, January 20, 2021 4:14 pm
It’s the end of the road for Donald Trump, the U.S. President who tried everything possible to destroy democracy – the very system that brought him to office four years ago and one of the enduring institutions of his country admired by people all over the world.
Just how much of an antithesis to democracy Trump is reflected in the unusually heavy security put in place to ensure a successful and violence free inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden – about 25,000 troops have been drafted to Washington DC with high walls constructed round the venue of the once- in- four -year event to keep trouble makers or the people now called domestic terrorists at bay.
Indeed, the mostly white ‘domestic terrorists’ had shown what they are capable of when they invaded the Capitol in an apparent bid to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral victory on 6, January.
In the historic invasion of the Congress, lawmakers who had gathered to certify Biden’s electoral victory, including Vice President Mike Pence who was to preside over the process were forced to go into hiding as Trump’s mob, armed with various types on incendiary materials, overpowered security operatives to gain entrance into the Capitol.
The mob and their action were products of ceaseless peddling of false allegations about the outcome of the November presidential election by Trump.
The businessman turned politician had ceaselessly claim that the election inin which he was voted out of office, thus making him one of the few one-term president in over 200 years history of U.S democracy was rigged.
The 45th American President continued to peddle baseless conspiracy theories that the Democrats rigged the election despite the fact that the key security establishments involved in the conduct of the poll had declared it the most credible and secured in the history of democracy in the country.
He had also continued spreading the allegations of electoral fraud despite the fact that over 60 suits he filed on the issue were thrown out by the court because of lack of evidence.
Based on the false allegations of rigging, supporters of Trump after weeks of planning and encouragement by the President had stormed the Capitol wielding lead pipes, explosives and chemical irritants among others to cause maximum disruption of the process.
Trump himself further encouraged the invasion when on December 19, he tweeted, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
He further egged the mob led by popular white supremacist figures on in an address before the invasion of the Capitol, describing the outcome of the election as an “egregious assault on our democracy.”
He urged his supporters to walk down to the Capitol. “There’s no question the president formed the mob,” Representative Liz Cheney, Republican from Wyoming, told Fox News. “The president incited the mob. The president addressed the mob. He lit the flame.” Six lives- including two policemen – were lost to the ensuing commotion in which people carrying Trump campaign flags swarmed the Capitol complex, broke into and turned upside down offices of lawmakers, including that of the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
The siege on the Capitol was widely criticized around the world and resignations of at least 10 officials of the Trump administration as well demands for investigations.
The Pelosi-led U.S House of Representatives Democrats responded to the ultimately fruitless attempt by the supporters of the President to stop the certification of the victory of Biden with introduction of an article of impeachment against Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
Thus, Trump was impeached a week after the Capitol riot by a vote of 232 to 197, the second time he will be impeached in his four years as President.
But this time around, all of the House Democrats voted to impeach him, along with the 10 Republicans.
In their resolution, the lawmakers said Trump “willfully made statements that encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—imminent lawless action at the Capitol. Incited by President Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol, injured law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress and the Vice President, interfered with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the election results, and engaged in violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”
The January 13 impeachment makes Trump the first U.S President to be impeached more than once.
The House had in in 2019, impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the highest ranking Republican who voted for impeachment of Trump said.
Social media companies, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram had also locked the US President out of his accounts, a big deal for a President who in the past four years had used the social media to attack his opponents and in some instances, call them names or what writer and U.S based lecturer, Okey Ndibe described as ‘Twitter storm presidency.’
As he departs the U.S presidency, Trump is leaving America divided than he met it with his encouragement of conspiracy theorists and white supremacist evangelical groups.
As noted by Reuben Abati in his Tuesday column in ThisDay newspaper: “Trump’s base is the Christian evangelical community in the United States and other parts of the world including Nigeria, the extremist, conservative wing of global ideology for whom any form of liberalism is a scriptural sin. His other base is the ultra-right, ultra-nationalistic band of racial haters, for whom his slogan “Make America Great Again” simply means “Make America White Again”, the neo-fascists, the Ku Klux Klan, the so-called Proud Boys who under Trump’s watch reversed the gains of the racial justice movement in the United States.”
Thus, President Trump had on many occasions invited members of right wing groups like the QAnon to speak at his rallies and hosted them at the White House. Thus, he was accused of taking bigotry, racism, and white nationalism to all time high in the with his reference to African countries as “shitholes” to Mexicans as “rapists;” to neo-Nazis as “very fine people,” as noted by global broadcasting network, CNN. The president is a threat to law and order. “On at least eight occasions, he has encouraged his supporters — including members of the armed forces — to attack his political opponents,”New York magazine noted.
His discriminatory immigration practices and policies had resulted in separation of families, deaths of children and disruption of livelihoods among people who had settled in the country for many years. More than 5,400 children — including babies and toddlers were separated from their migrant parents at the Mexico border an action which some right activists have described as torture and a clear violation of international law.
In addition, Trump was embroiled in a series of unethical issues in his four years presidency. This include payment of $25 million to settle lawsuits related to Trump University for $25 million and $2 million for misusing charitable funds for his own political gain while his Trump Foundation was also closed down for misconduct.
Indeed, Michael Cohen, one of the President’s lawyer is serving a three-year prison sentence for campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud, made illegal hush money payments to two women — Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Federal prosecutors claim that Cohen “acted in coordination and at the direction of” the president himself. The involvement of the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was also considered abuse of power by Trump.
His romance with lies is legendary with one estimate that the US President may have peddled more than 15,000 falsehoods in the four years he spent in office, just as he was indicted of obstruction of justice in Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He also had hanging on his neck dozens of accusations sexual assault and harassment by dozens of women.
Trump also unleashed what has been described as the fieriest direct and sustained assault on the media in his bid to undermine press freedom and justified criticisms of his administration in US history. He had at different times threatened media organizations, attacked and demonized journalists while also encouraging his supporters to also attack journalists or media organisations. Trump had in 2017 personally attempted to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner, an action which many believed was targeted at the CNN, owned by Time Warner.
The President had repeatedly accused the global television station of unfavorable coverage of his administration. Taking cues from him, some of the President’s supporters had send death threats to journalists. Investigative reports by leading US media organisations, including the New York Times had at various times indicted Trump in manipulations of financial records to dodge tax. Ahead of the last presidential election, Trump had attempted to bribe the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden in another reckless abuse of power.
“The occupancy of the Presidency has forced the klieg light on the character, morality and the business practices of Donald J. Trump. It has exposed him to the world for his sharp practices. It has shown him to be a congenital invertebrate liar. Trump has been derobed for the world to behold as a noxious narcissist who lives in alternative realities most of the time. Reported to have told over 20,000 lies in his White House years, Trump has become an exemplar of barratry and chicanery,” Remi Oyeyemi writes in an article published in this magazine.
His perpetual undermining of science and scientific institutions believed to have helped worsen the coronavirus pandemic with over 400 lives already lost to the virus so far. On the global stage, Trump’s policy of America’s first has disrupted global order with disruptions to environment and public-health regulations. He refused to invite Biden to the White House contrary to tradition, just as he refused to cooperate with the President-elect for the smooth and has signified that he will not be part of the inauguration ceremony.
This however will not detract from Biden’s victory or the ultimate humiliation of a man that has been likened to Adolf Hitler. “He lost the popular vote by 7 million votes, the first American President to lose the popular vote twice. On December 14, he was again humiliated when the electoral college confirmed Joe Biden as winner. He was further disgraced on January 5, in the two Senate run-off elections in the state of Georgia which the Republicans lost giving the Democrats a narrow majority of 50 -51 in the US Senate. No other American President has been so consistently humiliated,” Abati said.
Some analysts are also predicting that out of office and shorn of immunity, the President may end up in jail. Considering the number of crimes he has committed, the time span over which he has committed them, and the range of jurisdictions in which his crimes have taken place, his potential legal exposure is breathtaking. More than a dozen investigations are already under way against him and his associates. Even if only one or two of them result in criminal charges, the proceedings that follow will make the O. J. Simpson trial look like an afternoon in traffic court,” Jeff Wise noted in a report for New York Magazine.