By Mike Baker
Brace yourselves people, the United States of America are on the verge of re-entering the civilized world.
It’s a date that, I would imagine, has long been marked down, highlighted and circled in millions of calendars across the continent, and indeed the world – Jan. 20, 2021. The day that Donald Trump is, finally, forced to relinquish his presidency and retreat back from whence he came.
He does so having failed on the most grandiose of scales. After building his entire campaign around the catchy, yet absurdly ambiguous promise to ‘Make America Great Again’, Trump instead leaves behind a legacy of hate, deception and incompetency.
The man who became almost universally known as America’s principal ‘Liar-in-Chief’ leaves the country in a much worse position than he found it. Sure, a big reason for that is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While there’s nothing Trump could have done to stop the initial outbreak, there are plenty of measures he could, and should, have taken to stop the spread of the virus across the States.
No country has been hit harder by COVID-19. Just shy of 25 million people have contracted the virus in the US, while, as of Monday morning, 407,212 had died. Both of those numbers are more double those reported by the second most impacted country – India.
Some of his other doozies over the years include: withdrawing the USA from the Paris Climate Agreement; imposing a travel ban, which he often referred to as the “Muslim ban”, on residents of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen; continuously attacking the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama; and his many strange, seemingly racially-motivated attacks on both individuals and groups of people over the past four years.
Most eye-opening in that regard was a 2019 tweet, where he told four congresswomen of colour they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” after taking umbrage with their calls for social change. Of those four women, three were born and raised in the US, while the fourth immigrated to the States at a young age.
Trump spent months ignoring the Black Lives Matter movement, before eventually going on to call it “toxic propaganda” and a “symbol of hate” as protestors, many of them Black, resorted to rioting in some communities. He was strangely quiet, however, when a predominantly white group attacked the United States Congress on Jan. 6, in an attempt to overturn the defeat to president-elect Joe Biden in last November’s election.
On reflection, it’s probably best that he didn’t speak out. As evidenced by an ongoing count managed by the Washington Post, you could rarely believe a word Trump said. Over the course of his 1,455 days in office, the Post claims that Trump has made 30,529 false or misleading claims. At a rate of 21 false claims per day, Trump redefined what it is to be an untrustworthy politician.
For his part, Biden aims to hit the ground running this week, having prepared several executive orders he plans to push through on his first day in office – most of them righting some of the many, many wrongs Trump approved during his ill-fated tenure.
Finally, perhaps for the first time since 2016, there’s reason for our neighbours to the south to feel optimistic for the future.