I am writing this on the day before the Inauguration Day for Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the last full day of Donald Trump’s presidency. He will be leaving the White House on Wednesday morning without attending his successor’s initiation into the Presidency of the United States, which is probably better for everyone involved.
No one thought five and a half years ago that Donald J. Trump would end up being our 45th President. However, his messaging and the fact that he was the outsider in Washington appealed to a base of supporters that felt downtrodden and thought that Donald Trump was the answer to their problems. Some of his accomplishments included tax cuts, criminal justice reform, killing terrorist leaders in the Middle East, and moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, thus recognizing this city as the capital, and this kept his base tried and true for the most part. Unfortunately, this stuff is not what the president will be remembered for. President Trump’s rhetoric, spreading of misinformation, constant need to discount the truth and lack of accountability what will cloud over these accomplishments, establishing his legacy as one of the worst we’ve had.
Unfortunately, the two main things for which this president will be remembered for are the mishandling of COVID-19 and the influence on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Yes, I agree this was China’s fault for this virus’ presence in the world, but it was the job of the President to protect the citizens of this country while still being able to maintain our freedoms. A travel ban to China was a slightly moot point as most of the infections came into the United States through Europe anyway. While I applaud the efforts to roll out a vaccine in record time, the response to the virus’ spread in the United States is abysmal and the misinformation spread to those that worship him is even worse. It’s as if he screwed up at work, must fix the problem he allowed get out of control, and somehow look like the big hero to people. Read between the lines; he failed to keep us safe, leaving destruction to our economy and general wellbeing.
I’ve said before that words matter as the President of the United States. One that is the leader of the free world needs to mind their “P’s” and “Q’s” about the way in which they speak, exercising some tact and grace. Unfortunately, this president had neither of these traits. Some found it endearing. Others found it dangerous. We saw the prime example of how words and the spread of lies can blow out of proportion (and this is putting lightly) on January 6, 2021. It showed that someone who doesn’t understand the rules he claimed to uphold and be so patriotic about will do anything to hold onto power, no matter what. Was it worth it?
Lack of accountability is an overarching theme in the Trump presidency as well. We’ve seen this with every tragedy that has happened in the last four years. “It couldn’t have been my fault. I did everything right. It’s his or her fault.” It continued to create a rift with those he really needed to be working with to get things done for the American people. The lack of accountability is also apparent with his pardoning of several of his allies, including Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Charles Kushner. The people that clearly committed crimes were commuted of sentences and can go on their merry way. Sounds fair that the rich white guy is off the hook, right? (Not at all.)
Sure, we knew what we were getting when Donald Trump was chosen as the nominee and subsequently the President. He was a brash businessman hellbent on getting it done no matter how. However, this is not how future presidents should act in the future. I think that people running the government should understand how it works, not try to get through every loophole and push the limits just enough as not to break any law. It doesn’t matter whether the President is a Republican or Democrat; there is certain character traits that become apparent when candidates are running for president that you know will signal some type of success. Trump had none of them, but it didn’t seem to matter.
It remains a mystery why there weren’t many people in the Republican party that stood up to him about the way they may have been treated publicly or privately or just because it didn’t agree with their core values in the party. It baffles me even more that when Congress members’ backs were against the wall and feared for their life, they won’t hold him accountable. Unfortunately, it seems worse that they are placating Trump and not upholding their oaths to the Constitution either. It’s even worse that a great handful of people still voted against certifying the election in Joe Biden’s favor. Tone deaf doesn’t even cover it.
Donald Trump’s rhetoric and overhauling of presidential and political norms in this country are just a symptom of the division that we were experiencing years before his election. Unfortunately, he enabled this kind of behavior, making it viral around the country. Tell me, did he really make America great again? We are in the middle of a pandemic that has gotten worse over the last couple of months and division that I thought I’d never see, especially after a tragedy like January 6th. The weakness that Trump finds to be so abhorrent (thanks, Fred Trump, for making him like this) is now what we are experiencing. The bull in the china shop has come and gone. Who will pick up the pieces?