Sunday, January 24, 2021


A Donald Trump cake delivered to Trump Tower, New York,
ahead of 2016 election festivities.

When Joe Biden finally took over as the 46thPresident of the United States, it was at 5pm GMT, meaning I listened to his speech on the way home from work. That evening, and through the following day, I felt very distracted, almost like I felt anxious about having much less to feel anxious about.

Hearing a politician sincerely recognise the problems besetting the nation they must now guide, promise to address them, and pledge to lead on behalf of all their people, and not just those that voted for them, reminds you these actions are meant to be fundamental to being a leader - it is just nice hearing from someone that actually wants to do the job.

I can now understand what Barack Obama meant about the “audacity of hope”: democracy standing defiant, and in splendid progress, despite the events of two weeks before, and of the previous four years.

The attempted coup on the US Capitol building was the Kmart Blue Light Special of insurrections. (For UK audiences, read as the Debenhams Blue Cross Sale – two dead department store chains for the price of one.) It was like there was a cheap 4K television in every room. People were so excited to be there, they made sure others knew they were, helping the CIA and FBI most efficiently. Most shocking was the level of entitlement, both to storm their own seat of government, and to base their indignation out of something conducted from nothing but unsupported prejudice.

I didn’t think Donald Trump had it in him to incite sedition and insurrection, but when his businesses have declared bankruptcy as often as they have - six, between 1991 and 2009 - perhaps it was worth a go. I sincerely thought that the election of Joe Biden, a man now declared President more often than Franklin D Roosevelt, would be the end of the matter, and Trump would slowly realise his game was lost, and he would allow us all to get on with our lives. But too many people were wreaking havoc in his name for his ego to back down. If a second impeachment trial in the US Senate doesn’t convict him, something else will – there must be a lesson for him to learn.

Often repeated are the lessons taught to Trump by his lawyer and mentor Roy Cohn, formerly chief counsel to Joseph McCarthy, of the witch trials, and defender of mob bosses: “Dominate in every interaction, never admit wrongdoing or defeat, never pay your bills, and sue anyone who objects to your behaviour into financial submission.” Cohn, who denied he had AIDS up to when he died of it – he said it was liver cancer – was given a square on the AIDS Memorial Quilt: “Bully. Coward. Victim.” 

Trump achieved all three before being exiled, a pariah from American life. Trump bullied so much on Twitter that it had to be taken away from him, the benefits for American democracy and discourse in the short-term everyone outweighing the later questions over free speech and the nature of social media – that Trump effectively disappeared until the end of his Presidential term confirms how much he relied on it. Meanwhile, the domestic terrorists now arrested for storming the Capitol wonder why their leader has deserted them, leaving other extremist politicians in the Republican party to continue a pyrrhic crusade against the truth, at the expense of their party’s unity. For anyone still interested in ever thinking of Trump as a “victim,” his niece Mary L Trump, the best-placed psychologist in history released, in May 2020, the timeliest book with the clearest title: “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.”

With “Dancing with the Gatekeepers” having begun during the 2016 US Presidential race, Donald Trump became the de facto “Gatekeepers” bogeyman: a man whose choppy utterances and half-formed, half-stolen slogans enraptured millions, and radicalised thousands more. Words were often beyond him, left to those in his administration to make sound reasonable, but the longer the noise, the threats against the media, and the pronouncements on Twitter went on, the more it became the stifling daily rhythm to everyday life.

Fewer articles will be written, and fewer minutes on television will be aired, about Joe Biden’s presidency because it will simply be less eventful, and conducted more conventionally, than Trump’s presidency, which is entirely to be expected. Good – the time freed up to all of us, as consumers of media, can be put to greater use. Therefore, outside of any impending arrest, conviction and imprisonment, this will be the last time I feel the need to write about Donald John Trump. He really was the worst of us.

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