Milestones in the fall of Donald Trump
The journey to President Donald John Trump’s eventual loss of a second term in the White House was long in coming. As a deal maker, the outgoing President of the most powerful nation on earth detests failure. His decision to contest the Presidency began on a shaky note, especially given his unorthodox strategies and queer impolitic speak, which revolves around outlandish bluster.
From an underdog status, Trump emerged as the candidate of the Good Old Party, the Republican, and went ahead to confront a battle-tested Amazon of American politics and former Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton. Retaining his foul-mouthed imprecations, Trump zeroed in on Mrs. Clinton imprecise decision of using private servers in the performance of government functions while serving as Secretary of State, to de-market her.
Trump succeeded in using Clinton’s poor judgment to taunt and put her on the defensive as one of the corrupt politicians that filled Washington with the swamp. ‘Lock her up,’ became Trump’s war cry as he mobilized street boys and White supremacists to support his MAGA (Make America Great Again) nationalist manifesto.
Promising to erect a border wall to keep illegal immigrants, especially from neighbouring Mexico at bay, Trump gradually began the threat at adherents of the Islamic religion, who he blamed for importing religious fundamentalism to America.
Curiously, against all odds Trump defeated Senator Clinton despite polling fewer number of the popular votes, helped by the Electoral College system. The pain of robbing Americans the services of the first female President and the unpopularity of his style rubbed off negatively on the Trump Presidency.
But as a billionaire businessman, Show impresario, and Real Estate mogul, President Trump started by winning back American business outsourced abroad as well as other favourable trade negotiations, which led to a buoyant US economy once more.
As was to become obvious, what the Trump Presidency lost by crude and unfriendly Foreign Relations policies was compensated by the economy until he began to court troubles abroad, especially against North Korea, Iran, and long term allies of the US, particularly members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
After bluffing his way to the United States’ Presidency, Trump’s hold on his administration manifested instability, particularly following the investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election that brought him to power.
From the National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, through White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus to White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci and Secretary of Health, Tom Price, Trump’s Presidency experienced a high turnover of staff. In his usual carefree attitude, Trump dismissed criticisms of the instability of his administration, saying: “There are people who have done a bad job, and I let them go. If you call that turmoil, I don’t call that turmoil. I say that is being smart. That’s what we do.”
Signposts Of Approaching Fall
WITH the swagger of having self-funded his campaigns without fundraising, Trump looked up to one and was his own adviser and confidante, even as he brooked no opposition from any quarters. But, like Goliath, some of those he derided as political Lilliputs and unforeseen accidents lined his way to eventual electoral defeat on November 3, 2020.
The hard-fighting Republican President lamented that his greatest undoing would be to lose to the 44th US Vice President, Senator Joe R. Biden, who he described as “the worst Democratic Party Presidential candidate.” He said he would not mind leaving the US if that unthinkable happened.
That boast must have informed his decision to stonewall the verdict of the Election Commission from the 50 states, alleging mail ballot fraud and sundry manipulations. His attempt to get some temporary reprieve from the court like other ‘shithole countries’ hit the rocks.
Unknown to President Donald Trump, the path to his eventual loss of the US White House was readied by the following persons and events:
Nancy Patricia Pelosi
On February 5, 2020, while President Trump delivered what has become his last State of the Union address, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi, perhaps avenging Trump’s refusal to acknowledge her greeting with an outstretched hand for a shake, added a piece of drama by tearing her copy of the President’s Speech with relish and relief.
Pelosi told reporters later that she tore up the transcript, “because it was the courteous thing to do…. The courteous thing to do considering the alternative.” Whether the “alternative” she meant was giving the President a smack on the face or decapitation is left to the imagination. But the Speaker later described Trump’s State of the Union speech as a “manifesto of mistruths.”
Then there was George Floyd, a black man that was choked to death by white police officers on May 25, 2020. Coming on an election year in which President Trump was to seek possible re-election, the global protests against political brutality that trailed Floyd’s manslaughter worsened the President’s already battered international image.
The killing of George Floyd reminded the Black Lives Matter group of similar murders of black people by white police officers, and processions began across various US cities. Like the picture of Pelosi tearing Trump’s State of the Union speech, the image of a white police officer kneeling on the 46-year old Floyd’s neck sparked up negative feelings in the country.
Feeling that the protests and racist underpinning could damage his re-election chances, Trump tried to downplay the bad publicity by posing with a bible ostensibly to highlight his appeal to the evangelicals, who constituted a large chunk of his support base in 2016. Pope Benedict III’s statement that Trump is not a Christian also helped to defuse his (Trump’s) magic on the evangelicals.
Trump’s attempt to bluff his way out of the killer coronavirus as a made in China virus to destroy America’s economy could not hold water. Apart from contracting the deadly flu, from which he recovered to return to the campaign trail, there is no doubt that his poor handling of the pandemic, which cost many American lives, helped to pave the way to his downfall. Trump will be remembered for doing his own things his own way. But, being the citadel of democracy, on November 3, 2020, US voters told him that enough was enough.