The departure of the 45th President after one term marks a moment of vindication for the American left, argues Sean Ledwith
Four years ago, Donald Trump stood outside the Capitol building in Washington and delivered an inauguration speech filled with characteristic hate-filled bluster about ‘American carnage’ and ‘America First’. Millions of watching Americans in January 2017 would have dreaded what the next four years might bring with such an abominably corrupt racist and misogynist as Head of State. Even more millions watching outside the US would have feared that Trump’s ignorance and jingoism could plunge the globe into a terrifying conflict with any one of a number of rival states.
As it turned out, these profound misgivings about how the Trump Presidency would turn out were justified as he has left office today with US society polarised and scarred in ways not witnessed since the 1960s. However his departure after one term should also be a cause for celebration, not just relief.
Trump has essentially been driven out of the White House not by Joe Biden or Kamala Harris but by a rising tide of opposition on the streets and in workplaces from a diverse, multi-racial and largely working-class movement that has refused to be cowed or downhearted by the spectacle of such an appalling figure at the summit of the political system.
From the Women’s Marches against sexism that accompanied his inauguration to the massive Black Lives Matter protests of last year, the last four years should be remembered as an era of protest and widespread opposition to a uniquely repellent politician who personifies the narcissism and selfishness of the ruling class. The crimes of the Trump administration consistently produced resistance on the streets from the forces of progressive change and cumulatively they have forced him out today.
1 January 2017: Trump uses an executive order to halt immigration from predominantly Muslim countries. America’s traditional self-image as a sanctuary for the world’s oppressed is rocked by this nakedly Islamophobic policy
2 June 2017: Pulls the US out of the Paris climate agreement, displaying his ignorance of the ecological crisis and his financial debt to the fossil fuel companies that backed his campaign
3 August 2017: Threatens North Korea with the ‘fire and fury’ of nuclear annihilation, seemingly unconcerned that such a strike would inevitably trigger WW3
4 August 2017: Condones the far-right terrorists at Charlottesville who took the life of anti-racist protestor Heather Heyer: by claiming ‘you had people that were very fine people on both sides’
5 December 2017: Recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, sparking outrage among the Palestinian community and in defiance of international law
6 May 2018: Trumps pulls the US out of the nuclear deal with Iran which had brought relative stability to the region and allowed that country to rebuild after years of punitive sanctions on the civilian population
7 July 2018: Appoints anti-abortion judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, despite allegations of sexual harassment against him by female former colleagues
8 January 2019: Provokes a shutdown of essential federal services as part of his battle with Congress over the funding of the racist and nonsensical wall on the Southern border with Mexico
9 December 2019: Impeached by Congress for his blatant abuse of power in trying to persuade the Ukrainian President to subvert the campaign of Joe Biden
10 January 2020: risks massive conflagration in the Middle East by ordering drone strike on General Qasem Soleimani, a senior figure in the Iranian military
11 January 2020: Unveils supposed peace plan for Middle East which makes a settlement less likely by excluding Palestinian negotiators and awarding more portions of the West Bank and Jerusalem to Israel
12 March 2020: Fails to respond adequately to the emerging Covid threat, including misleading comments that understate the nature of the virus: ‘Within a couple of days…. infections are going to be down to close tozero. One day, it’s like a miracle. It will disappear.’
13 June 2020: Responds to the George Floyd protests by ordering police to disperse demonstrators with teargas and absurdly holding up a Bible outside a Washington church
14 July 2020: Withdraws the US from the World Health Organisation – during a pandemic!
15 October 2020: Appoints another right-wing judge, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court, ensuring American women will inevitably face another battle over reproductive rights in the future
16 October 2020: Violates numerous health protocols upon leaving hospital after a positive Covid test
17 November 2020: Loses the Presidential election to Joe Biden but refuses to concede, condemning the country to months of constitutional uncertainty
18 January 2021: Incites a right-wing mob to storm the Capitol building with the loss of five lives
19 January 2021: Becomes the first President to be impeached twice due to the above
20 January 2021: Leaves the White House with the US pandemic death toll at 400k and still rising.
Good riddance Trump. Now on to the fight against Trumpism and the neoliberal politics that produced him.
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