Finally, the end is here for Donald J. Trump. After weeks of stonewalling, Trump has quit office in a blaze of ingloriousness. Trump has been in desperate shape since he lost his reelection bid last November, but that desperation gets more ominous as Trump limps out of the White House, lonely and naked, into a cold hostile world at noon on Wednesday, January 20.
For one, Trump has been undergoing a series of political, financial, and legal setbacks long before the cataclysm that came with November 6. His business empire has been crashing as scared and bewildered partners who barely tolerated Trump’s toxic ways, have been in flight long before his political dreams blew in his face. Now that the legal impunity which shrouded Trump since 2016 is gone, the floodgate will now be open for prosecutors to begin to knock on his door.
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Trump’s desperation since he lost his reelection bid is understandable. Last May, then candidate Joe Biden had pledged that, if elected president, he wouldn’t use his executive powers to pardon Trump of potential crimes. It was not the first time Biden said he would not go easy on Trump. Earlier in October, 2019, he said it was a mistake for President Gerald Ford to pardon his predecessor, Richard Nixon, after the 1974 Watergate scandal, adding that pardoning Trump would send the wrong signal that some people are above the law.
Trump is not only losing a job he performed so poorly but, quite possibly, everything else, no thanks to his caustic tongue and toxic public image. Trump’s immediate future does not look promising.
Four years ago, Trump grabbed the headlines in a way the world could never have imagined. He won the presidency to become a major beneficiary of the opaque and inconvenient collegiate system that he had always dismissed as fraudulent.
Indeed, the world was appalled when, in 2016, Americans replaced the charismatic, erudite and Nobel Peace Prize-winning Barack Obama with an irascible and xenophobic demagogue. As president, only his own impressions, not facts, mattered to Trump! Because he was exceptionally self-conceited and opinionated, the Trump White House hardly got things done because it was constantly in crisis. Donald Trump was very comfortable with white supremacists, identified with them and spoke nicely of them!
Be that as it may, Donald Trump might have jeopardized a budding political career but if he escapes the slammer, he could still rise from the ashes of economic defeat and rebuild his foundering business empire.
Few hours after his inciting speech gingered his murderous fans to invade The Capitol, Trump suddenly realized he had foul-mouthed himself into trouble. So, he quickly distanced himself from the maddening mob. But the damage had been done and several damage-control measures popped up. One was for the president to pardon himself, an idea that was hurriedly jettisoned because it was not guaranteed to solve Trump’s problems. A self-pardon might constitute an admission of guilt that could open him up to more private lawsuits by families of victims of the January 6 mob action at The Capitol. In any case, a federal pardon, aside being a novel idea does not insulate Trump from being charged with state-level crimes.
The other option was for Trump to make a deal with vice president, Mike Pence, under which arrangement Trump was to resign to clear the way for the Vice President to grant him a pardon. That was another hot potato because Trump had badmouthed Pence and he was not sure the vice-president had forgiven him to the point of honouring him with a pardon.
Four years of trepidation has ended and the world seemingly feels safer now that Trump has waddled himself out of the White House. How the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris administration clears the mess left behind by its predecessor and return America to normalcy in four years remains unclear; what is clear and, the question that will not go away in a hurry, is how Americans, two decades into the Twenty First Century, foisted a short-fused demagogue on a volatile world.
Abdulrazaq Magaji <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes from Abuja