Toward the end of each president?s term of office, he and historians begin to think of a presidential legacy. Presidents leave the White House with portraits of themselves and their spouses, a record of accomplishment, and the accumulation of papers and documents to endow to that president?s library.
None of this accompanies the departure of Donald J. Trump. He leaves in disgrace, increasingly isolated, and with most of the weapons at his disposal revoked: his megaphone of lying communications with his gullible followers (Twitter and other social media), his money-making machine for fooling followers into contributions to his Trump Party (cut off by credit card companies accepting campaign money), and even by his corrupt practice of using his presidency to enrich his businesses (hotels and resorts) Even the Golf Association has banned using Trump resorts for golf tournaments.
I do not yet know if he will be impeached for a second time, and whether the Congress will legislate to bar him from ever serving in public trust again, cancelling post-presidency benefits of lifetime Secret Service protection and pensions. We have not yet seen any prosecution for the federal offence of incitement of insurrection or state prosecutions (Michigan and Georgia) for federal crimes in election interference, in addition to financial fraud charges in New York.
We have had a few terrible presidents in our history: Andrew Jackson, James Buchannan, Andrew Johnson, and Richard Nixon, all used their presidencies to harm the country. Trump, however, "trumps" them all. His legacy includes:
? Lying continually, thousands of them cited, from his first big one: that President Barack Obama was not born in the US, to silly ones, such as lying about his Inaugural crowds, to his final assault on the election that he lost, inflaming the gullible that he actually won and was being cheated.
? He poisoned the Republic Party, which failed to stand up to him, knowing full well what he would do, but intimidated into supporting his lies, lest they lose the next Primary. Senators and Congressmen who should have known better even supported his final lie, that the election (despite putting them in office) was fraudulent because Trump couldn?t have lost. Even those who might have lost their own lives when the Capitol was attacked by Trump thugs continued to promulgate Trump?s lies about the "fraudulent election." Several of these lawmakers actually engaged in egging on the mob during Trump?s incitement to insurrection, and should be prosecuted and ejected from Congress.
? Trump and his family violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution that forbade officials from using their power to enrich themselves. Trump and his children shamelessly pursued this enrichment.
? He used his Pardoning Power to release from justice real unrepentant criminals, and those who might otherwise be called as witnesses against Trump in upcoming trials. As of this writing, he didn?t try to pardon his family or himself, but I don?t know if he secretly pardoned the insurrectionist thugs. his co-criminals, or himself. He pardoned Steve Bannon, anarchist, who grafted millions from the Trump Wall fund.
? He elevated the big lie as policy: attacking the mainstream press, verdicts of judges, election officials, scientists, and historians. We can argue policies or differ on the best ways to arrive at desired ends (justice and fairness), but never before have we been divided by "alternate truths." Trump has made himself the font of conspiracy theories, lies that his followers believe, while telling them not to believe what they see or hear, because all other sources are fake. Unfortunately, Trump?s lies were repeated by ambitious or cowardly Republicans, social media, and "alternate truth" entertainment media (Fox News).
? He systematically wrecked every American institution of government that he could. He fired competent officials, installed incompetent toadies, canceled every regulation that protects our air, water, and natural resources. He leaves behind a wreckage for President Biden to fix.
? His only successes, two of them, were not getting us into a war (sheer luck) and cajoling some Arab countries into making official what they had secretly been doing: collaborating with Israel. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem was another good idea.
What a legacy!
Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of "How Do You Know That? Contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.