Editorials

A broken and disgraced man

Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, demits office today.

He leaves office after garnering the support of some 74 million people who voted to grant him a second term. His big lie, that he won re-election in the face of clear, undisputed and certified election results, caused his support to crumble. As a result, he leaves office with the lowest public opinion poll numbers of any US president.

Four years ago, he won, defying conventional wisdom and surprising the Republican establishment. He meant to rebrand the US government much as he had rebranded hotels and condominiums and office towers, golf courses and at one time or other a college, vodka – even steaks, with the Trump insignia.

The son and grandson of immigrants and the spouse of two immigrants, Trump in office roiled against foreigners, most particularly those from majority Muslim states and others he named “shit hole”.

He instituted policies that led to the separation of thousands of children from their families at the border; hundreds are yet to be reunited.

He reversed his predecessor’s normalization of relations with Cuba and sought to punish CARICOM states for accepting vital assistance from their neighboring state.

He damaged America’s image abroad offending long-standing allies while making common cause with dictators and authoritarian regimes. We marvel that his response to Hurricane Dorian here was life-saving and generous to a fault.

He removed the United States from important international agreements like the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal and commenced the US’s exit from the World Health Organization.

He mismanaged efforts to curtail and contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

He came to office when the Republican Party held majorities in both Houses of Congress. He demits office to a Democratic president and Democratic controlled House and Senate.

Having alienated large swaths of the American public, he caused the largest voter participation in a presidential election ever. The result was that he was bested by a man he derisively labeled “sleepy, creepy Joe” and mocked as having a low I.Q.

Joseph R. Biden, who will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States today, received the support of more than 81 million voters, won the Electoral College with 306 votes, the same number won by Trump in 2016. But unlike Trump in 2016, who lost the popular vote to his rival Hillary Clinton, Biden beat Trump on that front, winning more than 51 percent of votes cast.

Trump compounded his electoral defeat, challenging the election outcome in as many as 61 court cases around the country. He failed to satisfy even a conservative-leaning Supreme Court that his allegations of corruption in the electoral process were based on fact.

Still, he stubbornly refused to concede defeat, instead successfully convincing a large number of his supporters that their election victory had been stolen by a fraudulent electoral system.

His litany of lies about his failed re-election bid culminated in the inglorious attack of the US Capitol on January 6 by delusional “Trumpites” determined to take by force that which they could not win at the ballot box.

Earlier a darling of America’s big business which liked and supported his tax policies and their impact on stock markets, Trump’s embrace of radical white supremacists and other fringe militia groups gradually alienated him from these natural allies.

Once a “lord” of social media who made “government by tweet” the norm, he is now banished from every major social media platform: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Amazon and Snapchat.

He has spent the better part of the last week isolated in the White House facing a historic second impeachment.

He must now take consolation from planning a grand departure ceremony to mark his humiliating exit from the White House.

Ever wily, he scheduled his arrival in Florida just ahead of Biden’s swearing-in, providing a pretext for his still loyal supporters to gather and waive as he motorcades to a hopefully comfortable retirement of irrelevance.

All in all, Trump leaves office a broken and disgraced man.

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