Program Success Magazine February 2021 | Page 8

Program Success 8 February 2021

Obituary For A Failed Presidency

By Susan B . Glasser Guest Columnist – The New Yorker
Obituary for a Failed Presidency , Donald Trump Susan B . Glasser , Tallahassee , Florida
Precisely at noon on Wednesday January 20 , 2021 , Donald Trump ’ s disastrous Presidency ended , two weeks to the day after he unleashed a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol , seeking to overturn the election results , and one week to the day after he was impeached for so doing . He leaves behind a city and a country reeling from over four hundred thousand Americans dead , from a pandemic whose gravity he downplayed and denied ; an economic crisis ; and an internal political rift so great that it invites comparisons to the Civil War .
In the end , Trump was everything his haters feared - a chaos candidate , in the prescient words of one of his 2016 rivals , who became a chaos President . An American demagogue , he embraced division and racial discord , railed against a “ deep state ” within his own government , praised autocrats and attacked allies , politicized the administration of justice , monetized the Presidency for himself and his children , and presided over a tumultuous , turnover-ridden Administration via impulsive tweets .
He leaves office , Gallup reported , with the lowest average approval ratings in the history of the modern Presidency . Defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 election by seven million votes , Trump became the first incumbent seeking reelection to see his party lose the White House , Senate , and the House of Representatives since Herbert Hoover , in 1932 .
A liar on an unprecedented scale , Trump made more than thirty thousand false statements in the course of his Presidency , according to the Washington Post , culminating in perhaps the biggest lie of all : that he won an election that he decisively lost .
Yet Republicans - the vast majority , that is , of those who still identify themselves as Republicans - continue to embrace Trump and the conspiracy theories about his defeat that the departing President has spread to explain his loss . This , more than anything , might have been the most surprising thing about Trump ’ s tenure : his ability to turn one of America ’ s two political parties into a cult of personality organized around a repeatedly bankrupt New York real-estate developer .
And so we are ending these four years having learned not that Donald Trump is a bad man - the evidence of that was already voluminous and incontrovertible before he entered politics - but that there are millions of Americans who were willing to overthrow our constitutional system in order to keep him in power , who would follow Trump ’ s dark lies rather than acknowledge unwelcome truths .
I often wonder whether , a few years from now , we will really be able to remember what it was like these past four years : the early-morning tweets firing the Secretary of State and overruling the Pentagon ; the bizarre sight of an obese , orange-haired septuagenarian President dancing onstage to the Village People before thousands of adoring fans ; the final shocking spectacle of the pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol as the President watched it on television in the White House and put out a video telling the rioters , “ We love you .”
Will we recall Trump ’ s strange obsessions - his conviction that windmills cause cancer and modern toilets don ’ t flush well - and also his toxic lies about more consequential matters , such as the deadly pandemic that he compared to a bout of the seasonal flu ? I don ’ t know , although I am quite sure that there will be decades of efforts to understand how the most powerful country on earth came to have a leader who believed that hurricanes could be nuked .
This is my final Letter from Trump ’ s Washington . At noon on Wednesday , I , too , will transition - to writing about the Biden Presidency and what it means for a capital struggling to reckon with Trump ’ s disruptive legacy . Reading back through the more than a hundred and forty Letters from Trump ’ s Washington I wrote , what stands out in hindsight is the stalking menace of these past few years . As Trump became more powerful and less constrained by successive waves of White House advisers , he was correspondingly more and more outrageous , untruthful , and unmoored from reality .
His sense of grievance and victimization escalated ; so , too , did his threats , name-calling , and public provocations . He fired the F . B . I . director , a Secretary of State , an Attorney General , a Defense Secretary , three White House chiefs of staff , and two - or three , depending on whose account you believe – national security advisers .
He pardoned war criminals and boasted of complete and total vindication in the Mueller investigation , even though it offered no such thing . He forced the longest government shutdown in history when Congress would not fund his border wall - all while continuing to claim that Mexico would pay for it . The lack of meaningful consequences throughout his tenure only emboldened him further . The disaster of 2020 was not an unexpected catastrophe so much as a predictable crescendo .
It strikes me that the mistake , the original sin for many in Washington , was in pretending that the Campaign Trump of 2016 was not the true Trump , when in reality