BY GARY LEE
Now presenting Donald Trump: a former president, a meme and the infamous man on the escalator.
It can be said that the presidential term of Donald Trump will come to be known as the height of political controversy for decades to come. From his millions of tweets to the endless troubles he has caused, Trump’s presidency should have been featured in the Series of Unfortunate Events.
Starting with a small loan of a million dollars, Trump worked his way as a businessman to the top of the U.S. Elected back in June 2016, it is said that was the month when it all started going downhill.
In his final days as president, he released a farewell address to the public on Jan. 19, announcing the transition of power. Despite what he has expressed within the address, much of what he stated directly contradicts the actions and results of his (thankfully short) presidential term.
Within the address, the former president started off by congratulating himself and everyone else by stating how proud he is of what American has accomplished. This however raises some questions about the speech’s honesty; since not a lot of notable accomplishments were made during his term. In truth, Trump did end up improving certain aspects of the law through many reforms. But all of his accomplishments are largely overshadowed by the many controversies he has caused in his one term as president.
For example, his famous declaration of "Make America Great Again" was supported by his resolution to build a great wall dividing Mexico and the U.S while making the former pay for it. While some see this as a necessary protection, others see it as Trump’s own discrimination against immigrants in general. At first, the concept sounds genuine. The prospect of walling off unwanted visitors seems like a good idea for the economy and morale of citizens. Turns out, this was a very inhumane deed as those are just poor people wanting to start anew. By walling them off and turning them away from the border, the policy left innocent people to die due to horrendous living conditions at the borders. Even worse, rather than just leaving the immigrants alone, they were treated in inhumane ways with some even dying inside cages. If this is really the accomplishment that Trump was proud of, then it really brings people to question his past and current morality.
Additionally, speaking of Donald Trump's morality, many protests occurred in the earlier days of his regime. Whether surrounding race, gender, rights or white supremacy, one common theme was a trend amongst all of them: police brutality. Conflicts ranged from tear-gassing peaceful protestors to threatening individuals with armed soldiers. Many of Trump’s actions in response reflected that of authoritarian leaders, clearly contradicting the American democracy.
In the latter parts of Trump's address, he spoke of how luck was an important factor in terms of the new presidency. This one word establishes his attitude towards the newly elected President, Joe Biden. In not so subtle manners, Trump has repeatedly expressed his disdain towards the end of his presidency. In a way akin to a child’s tantrum, Trump argued that the election was a fraud and that he as the president would not concede. He even resorted to unsportsmanlike conduct such as telling poll workers to stop counting votes or provoking people to riot at the capital on the day of Biden’s electoral victory certification.
Furthermore, in his taped speech, the former president addresses the Capitol riot as if he himself was not the one who encouraged it. Trump was quick to emphasize how the riot terrified people across the nation and that it can never be tolerated but did not state once that he was at fault. “All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol. Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated,” Trump stated according to ABC News.
This inevitably led to one of his two impeachments, in which the other was of shady information dealings about his political rivals in Ukraine. These two incidents led to him becoming the first U.S president in history to be impeached twice in just one term.
Diving more into his speech, he talked about how America’s economy was greater than it ever was claiming that the U.S has regained the respect of other nations. In truth, the exact opposite has happened. Starting with how the government debt reached post World War II levels. Not to mention that the U.S has become an international joke: the punchline being our response to COVID-19.
This brings us to his most deadly mistake. In his overwhelming arrogance, Trump downplayed the severity of the COVID-19. In hindsight, he probably wanted to prevent national panic over the newfound crisis. However, in his attempt to do so, he inadvertently caused the death of 400,000 individuals from the virus alone, with more than 25 million Coronavirus cases. What is worse is the fact that he contracted the virus himself: a feat that only a few other noteworthy leaders of the world have accomplished. If the most important figure of a nation were to contract a virus, what does that say about the nation’s welfare as a whole?
Needless to say, Donald Trump was a very influential leader. His actions have shown the world how crucial democracy is to the welfare of citizens. His lasting impact and the problems he left behind shows exactly why a country needs to balance the power between the leader and the populous. Let us hope that in the future, one man will not be able to screw up a country this much in just four years.