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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

As mean as mean can be

"Nothing should surprise us anymore about the irascibility and outright lack of self-respect of this man."

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One would be at a loss to come up with a description of the character of one Donald Trump, until high noon of the 20th of January in the coming year, president of the United States of America.

In the twilight of his presidency, the least shred of dignity is yet alien to his persona.

Trump is devastated by his loss, nay, extremely bitter that what he thought would be a resounding re-election against one he described as “sleepy Joe” and denigrated as a “most unworthy opponent,” beat him with 306 electoral votes over his 232, and a more than million popular vote margin with 81 million Americans choosing his opponent as their soon-to-be president.

To this day, he is publicly in denial. Privately realizing the end is near, he unleashes against the electorate, against his own people, a vengeance that wreaks havoc upon the traditions of America’s democracy, and will make it extremely difficult for his successor to undo the wreckage he will inherit 24 days henceforth and beyond.

Cocooned inside the Oval Office when not playing rounds of golf, he makes no public statements except to tweet unfounded charges of being cheated, and orders his attorneys to file case after case in trial courts asking judges to overturn the vote. He has even gone as far as the Supreme Court of the United States.

That Supreme Court, packed with conservatives including one he appointed in midnight fashion and railroaded through a Senate confirmation, rejected his lackeys’ “motion for leave to file complaint” to overturn the election results in the battleground states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, whose governors and secretaries of state refused to kowtow to his earlier demands to de-legitimize mailed-in votes.

No proof was presented to the claim of “widespread fraud and erroneous counting,” and so the Supreme Court, by a vote of 7-2 threw out the petition last December 14. Trump harrumphed that it was a “disgraceful miscarriage of justice” when even his newly appointed justice, Amy Coney Barrett, along with earlier Trump appointees Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh voted against his plea.

Meanwhile, gullible rednecks and “true” believers have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to fund Trump’s insane quest to overturn the electoral results. Even in the face of humiliation, the Donald knows how to make money by fooling people. How much of the millions he will pocket after 20 January, 2021 is up for speculation. He of course will need it when he faces tax fraud and other criminal suits after he loses presidential immunity, to hire lawyers of ambulance-chaser caliber who will just milk him knowing they will get nowhere.

Surrounded by sycophants trying to squeeze as much “juice” as they can from him while his residual powers last, even as many Republicans including his Majority Floor Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell finally recognized Biden as the popular and electoral choice, Trump continues to dig in.

Meanwhile too, he has issued presidential pardons as if he was printing money, to criminal after criminal involved in several breaches of federal law, too many to bother enumerating in this space. One would not be surprised if he likewise pardons family members, including his favorite son-in-law, whose business dealings many say, have bordered on the criminal.

Trump may even pardon himself, or resign by early January and ask his vice-president, Mike Pence, to grant him presidential pardon. A precedent was set when Nixon, another Republican, resigned in disgrace, and his selected vice-president, Gerald Ford, pardoned his benefactor.

Nothing, but nothing, should surprise us anymore, about the irascibility and outright lack of self-respect of this man Americans once hailed as their leader.

But on top of all his delusions, on top of his willy-nilly presidential pardons, and his stubborn hope that Congress will yet stand in the way of the verdict of the Electoral College, he displays a character as mean as mean can be.

Congress recently passed a Covid-19 economic relief bill wrapped up in a 1.4 trillion dollar funding bill without which government will have to shut down midnight of this annus horribilis.

In a video late evening of December 22, Trump called the $900 million in stimulus funds a “disgrace” despite it being passed the day before by a large bi-partisan majority after months of negotiation. In the negotiations, the Democrats wanted more, but the Republicans wanted less in economic stimulus to small businesses and the unemployed who have been subsisting during the pandemic on federal and state dole-outs, much like our “ayuda.”

Trump now says he wants the checks to taxpayers increased to $2,000, something he refused to consider prior to the elections.

“This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences. About 10 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits,” president-elect Joe Biden said.

When 2021 enters without this bill signed into law, a moratorium on house evictions will expire, putting millions at risk of being thrown out of their homes. Vital services will grind to a halt. Military servicemen around the world will stop receiving their paychecks.

At the eleventh hour, Trump echoes what the Democrats wanted to give—a bigger stimulus fund, to which they caviled before Republican intransigence, only to be able to give millions of Americans something to live on while waiting for the new president to petition Congress for more.

If Trump does veto, as he has threatened to, Congress is likely to override him, but how much longer will that take, given an impending recess?

Nothing could explain this act of madness except a meanness of character in the outgoing president.

Vox populi, vox Dei. The voice of the people is the voice of God.

But then again, megalomaniacs think they are themselves god. So when they fall, whether in their lifetime or in the hallowed writ of history thereafter, there will be no redemption.

* * *

We will resume the series on the nine presidentiables Biz News Asia published after the New Year starts. Thus far we have written about Ping Lacson, “the outlier” and Manny Pacquiao, “the pugilist”. We still have to write our (as objective as objective can possibly be) readings of their qualifications and their chances in 2022, of the businesswoman, the foundling, the assistant, the son, the widow, the daughter, Yorme and the mechanic.

“Is there no one else?” Time flies quickly, but surprise is the coin of politics.

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