Presidential pole-shift shouldn’t be a surprise for those used to the tremors.
By KAZ BOSALI: POLITICAL Columnist
Tomorrow is the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden which marks the end of Trump’s one-term presidency. The last four years, President Trump has been the subject of online ridicule, disbelief and parodies, a stark contrast of what’s expected of the most powerful position in the world.
Trump’s legacy will be debated for years to come; his domestic and international policies, his relationship with the press, his communication with the public and particularly his undignified behaviour, unlike any other presidents before him. The following are 4 of Trump’s most unprecedented moments.
He initially failed to condemn the storming of the Capitol Building
The whole world was stunned when they witnessed live pictures streamed on the news and online that showed a group of protestors storming the US Capitol Building on 6th January 2021. It disrupted the process of certifying the election of Biden and the Vice-President elect, Kamala Harris after Donald Trump held a rally simultaneously urging his supporters to march on Congress.
He repeated baseless claims that the election result is fraudulent. Following what was perceived to be a call to action, hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, damaging property and looting. Five people died and many more injured and hospitalised.
Boris Johnson called for a peaceful transfer and Labour leader Keir Starmer described it as an attack on democracy. Whilst this sentiment was echoed by world leaders, Trump on the other hand, took to Twitter to tell the mob to “go home now” and posted a video of himself repeating his allegations that the election was stolen from them, and called for law and order. He failed to condemn the looters, and said “We love you. You’re very special… I know how you feel”.
He has since been impeached for incitement of insurrection.
The first president to be impeached twice
He is the first president in the 21st Century to be impeached and the first one to be impeached twice.
His first impeachment was in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over an apparent attempt to force Ukraine into providing information on his rival Joe Biden, and allowing foreign intervention in the USA’s democratic elections. Trump was acquitted of these charges.
In 2021, Trump second impeachment came following the storming of the US Capitol for “incitement of insurrection”. The decision to impeach Trump is on the grounds of him endangering the security of America, its democratic institutions, and the transfer of power. Impeachment does not mean criminal charges, so he won’t be given a prison sentence, but it is a political charge.
‘Traditionally, the defeated candidate congratulates their victorious rival. Trump is yet to send his congratulations to President-elect Biden.’
An outgoing president is entitled to an annual pension and travel expenses. If found guilty, he will lose his lifelong incentives and, crucially, he will be disqualified from running for office again in the future.
This historic second charge is ongoing matter, that will continue once he leaves office. The Senate trial may begin after the 20th January 2021, when Biden is sworn in as new President.
use of social media
Trump has been known for his outspokenness and lack of self-control when it came to his tweets in particular. He shared his unfiltered thoughts about his political rivals, the media and his critics. He used his platforms to threaten North Korea, re-share far right material and criticise politicians like Hillary Clinton and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Following the storming of Capitol Building, Trump was criticised for using his online platforms to incite violence and spread misinformation. Consequently, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, announced Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts would be disabled indefinitely, at the very least until Biden is sworn in, to ensure a smooth transition of power, and to reduce the risk of causing disruption again.
He was permanently suspended from Twitter for breaking rules. Twitter was the preferred first choice of communication from Trump, where he often expressed his daily grievances directly to his millions of followers including unfounded claims that the election result was fraudulent.
His behaviour after election defeat
After two months of his defeat at the USA 2020 Elections to Biden, Trump finally conceded defeat and promised a peaceful transition of power.
Apart from the alleged incitement of insurrection, Trump’s behaviour following his defeat has been an anomaly compared to previous losing presidential candidates. Traditionally, the defeated candidate congratulates their victorious rival. Trump is yet to send his congratulations to President-elect Biden.
He has said he will not be attending the inauguration ceremony, which takes place at the Capitol Building. Trump refusal to join breaks the tradition of outgoing presidents attending the ceremony which symbolises the transfer of power. Both then outgoing president Obama and his defeated 2016 contender Hillary Clinton attended Trump’s inauguration back in 2017, despite being fierce critics of the former The Apprentice star.
Biden has welcomed Trump’s decision not to attend.
Tomorrow marks a new and fresh chapter for America domestically and on the world stage after arguably having their most vocal, unpredictable and explosive president in history. Trump’s legacy will be debated for years to come, it will have books written on it and it will be a standard of comparison for presidential successors. How history will reflect overall remains to be seen, but there is one thing certain: Trump has been an unprecedented president.
MACKAYAN: Trump’s “unpresidented” momentsTweet