For millions of people in America and around the world, the departure of a White House wannabe autocrat who spent four years living inside everybody’s head means the end of a long nightmare.
When people look at Trump and say, “This is not America,” they are wrong. His presidency personified a gap between America’s liberal, urban, multiracial citizens and their White, rural, conservative counterparts. And his great sin as President was that he didn’t try to build common bonds and language between an internally estranged people. Instead, he exploited the divide.
Trump did often raise questions that conventional politicians dodged: Shouldn’t the US be tougher on an increasingly hostile China? When will someone actually help ghost towns in the Midwest and the South where industries died at the hands of elite free traders? Why don’t prosperous Europeans pay more for their own defense? What is the sense in sending heartland Americans to die in the Middle East?
But he never answered these questions. And for all Trump’s championing of “forgotten” Americans, his sole big legislative win was huge tax cuts for corporations and his rich cronies.
Trump mythologizes his skill as a builder, but he will be remembered for destruction. After losing the White House, the House and the Senate, being impeached twice and throwing tens of thousands of lives into the teeth of the pandemic, this one-termer has earned his inevitable historic ignominy as one of the worst US presidents, if not the worst.
‘He would be greatly disappointed in how we have chosen to conduct ourselves’
Civil rights leader and peaceful protest advocate Martin Luther King Jr. would be disappointed by the state of the country if he were alive today, his son said on Monday — a national holiday to honor King. “My father always believed in the people of our nation. Certainly, he would be greatly disappointed in how we have chosen to conduct ourselves at this particular moment, but most particularly, probably disappointed in the commander in chief, because the commander in chief is supposed to bring people together and not to bring people together to actually intercept your government,” Martin Luther King III told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
No time for losers / ’cause we are the champions …
Some presidents leave looking like they can’t wait to hand over the burdens of office. But others loathe ceding the spotlight. President Richard Nixon, who also left in disgrace, delivered a tearful farewell to his Cabinet with the immortal self-justifying line, “Others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.” Then he was off with that famous two-armed salute, fingers flashing a “V” for victory, at the door of Marine One.
No one loved being president like Bill Clinton. Even after the longest of goodbyes, he couldn’t bear to let go, stringing out a huge farewell rally at Andrews that some saw as a poor taste distraction from George W. Bush’s inauguration.
Pointing to a sign that read, “Please don’t go,” the two-termer told fans, “I left the White House — but I’m still here.”
Eight years later, George W. Bush left incoming President Barack Obama’s inauguration and helicoptered over a crowd singing, “Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye!” in mockery of his presidency, which had effectively expired in the bloodied sands of Iraq.
The joke soured on Democrats eight years on, though, when Obama was succeeded by a president who made W look like George Washington.
Trump of course, will spare himself such humiliation by shipping out of Washington early on Inauguration Day. In doing so, he’ll crush presidential decorum to the very end, by snubbing Biden’s big day.