Program Success Magazine February 2021 | Page 24

Obituary For A Failed Presidency

In the end , Donald Trump was everything his haters feared - a chaos candidate who became a chaos President .

The converging debacles of 2020 showed it to be very bad , indeed . But when Trump ran for reelection on a platform of denying the severity of the coronavirus - even as hundreds of thousands of Americans were dying from it - the Party not only continued to back him ; it handed him the nomination unopposed .
Through it all , Trump remained a unique combination of absurd and dangerous . He spent much of his time watching Fox News and playing golf , and , although he bragged that he knew more than the experts about everything from nuclear weapons to medicine , he displayed little interest in the nuances of governing . He surrounded himself with sycophants and was so historically illiterate he seemed genuinely surprised to have discovered that Abraham Lincoln was a member of the Republican Party .
His critics could never quite decide , at least not until the catastrophes of 2020 forced a choice , whether Trump was a clown or a modern-day Caligula . Even up until the storming of the Capitol , many of even his most dedicated critics were not sure that a man they knew to be incompetent and undisciplined and profoundly unstrategic could wreak so much havoc on America ’ s democracy .
When I asked my Twitter followers this week what stuck most with them about the parade of unthinkables that has made up this Presidency , I received more than three thousand replies . Though some reflected on the disastrous , often inexplicable , policy choices Trump made - separating small children from their families at the southern border , taking Vladimir Putin ’ s word over that of his own intelligence agencies , embracing “ very fine people ” on both sides of the white-supremacist march in Charlottesville - many others cited the bizarre antics for which his Presidency will also be known .
They recalled the time when he tried to buy Greenland - in exchange for Puerto Rico - and cancelled a trip to Denmark , in a fit of pique , when they wouldn ’ t sell it to him . And the time he led a Boy Scout Jamboree in a chant of “ Lock her up ” aimed at Hillary Clinton . And “ Sharpiegate ,” in which the President insisted , incorrectly , that a hurricane was about to hit Alabama and sought to cover up his mistake by redrawing a map of the storm ’ s trajectory with a black marker .
One person called the array of responses “ a trip down memory lane - if Memory Lane was a street in Nightmaresville .” For my part , I often think back to Trump ’ s warning about a fake “ invasion ” by illegal immigrants caravanning toward the southern border in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections - and sending real U . S . troops to guard against it . It all adds up to a tour of dysfunction , low comedy , and national shame that has no precedent in American history .
Many of Trump ’ s biggest outrages had the effect of directly challenging the laws and norms governing the Presidency , as he sought to expand executive power while simultaneously undermining those whose job was to wield it on his behalf . His obsession with defeating Biden led him to become the first President in American history impeached twice by the House .
In his first impeachment trial , after he pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden , only a single Republican senator , Mitt Romney , voted to convict him . This time , a few more Republicans might finally break with him , after he incited a mob to believe that Congress could somehow defy the Constitution and overturn Biden ’ s Electoral College victory . On Tuesday , Trump ’ s last full day in office , Mitch McConnell , the Senate Majority Leader , who until this month had done so much to enable Trump ’ s Presidency , said unequivocally that the riot at the Capitol was “ provoked by the President .”
Continued ... See OBITUARY on page 28