In Counterpunch.org Jawn. 14, 2021
BY RICHARD C. GROSS
“The evil that men do lives after them”
William Shakespeare’s, Marc Antony in Julius Caesar
Donald Trump may go down as the biggest loser in American history, a corrupt Benedict Arnold who put himself before country, before his people, before his party, even before God.
He was the first among our 45 presidents to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives. This time, for “incitement of insurrection.” More than well-deserved for a narcissistic, sociopathic madman who turned our country upside down for four chaotic years, something different, much of it bad, coming daily.
Trump will get the attention he so craves by being long mentioned in history, but as a disgrace to his country. The vote to impeach was 232–197, including 10 members of his Republican party. But impeachment, even twice, is too good for him. He should be in prison.
The Senate should try him before he leaves office Wednesday. But the all-powerful Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, reportedly has said he won’t recall the senators until Thursday, a day after Trump leaves office. McConnell was Trump’s enabler-in-chief.
Despite Trump’s urging his thuggish followers, like a coach, to storm the barricades of the Capitol — our most sacred symbol of democracy — his biggest crime has been his incorrigible, irresponsible, unconscionable, deliberate decision to ignore the coronavirus raging across our land from sea to shining sea, killing hundreds of thousands of our people. Even now.
It must be a crime against humanity for a president to dismiss the heartbreaking suffering, the widespread illness, the deaths from the worst epidemic to invade our shores in more than 100 years.
In stark contrast, President-elect Joe Biden has made the virus and its follow-on COVID-19 his №1 target even before he will take office Wednesday. That’s leadership. And it’s determined leadership that will heal our country.
The impeachment occurred against a backdrop of repeated warnings by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies of expectations of protests by Trump supporters in all 50 state capitals Sunday and again in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.
About 20,000 troops were expected to be posted in the city to ensure there will not be a repeat of the Jan. 6 seizure of the Capitol or attacks elsewhere. At least 170 Trump-inspired insurgents have been arrested and a nationwide manhunt for more is underway.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations,” Trump said in a statement released during the impeachment, “I urge that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for.” Contrition?
But there was no contrition Tuesday when he told reporters that “people thought what I said was totally appropriate” at the Jan. 6 rally just before his equivalent of Hitler’s Brownshirts stormed the Capitol.
To which people was he referring? Most have condemned his incitement of his stormtroopers; that’s what he was impeached for. Totally delusionary.
Mary Trump, the president’s niece, was prescient when she told The Guardian newspaper five days after her uncle lost the Nov. 3 election:
“This is what Donald’s going to do: he’s not going to concede, although who cares. What’s worse is he’s not going to engage in the normal activities that guarantee a peaceful transition. All he’s got now is breaking stuff, and he’s going to do that with a vengeance. I’ve always known how cruel he can be.”
He has refused to concede the election, he has hindered transition efforts and he has said, against tradition, that he will not attend the inauguration (Good!).
Guardian reporter Jude Rogers spoke again after the Capitol riots with Ms. Trump, a psychologist and author of “Too Much and Never Enough,” which is about her uncle.
”It was the last four years in real time, distilled to its very essence” she said of the uncontrolled mayhem.
“Remember: this is the man who tried to invalidate mail-in ballots in the middle of a pandemic,” she said. “This is the man who forced resignations of high-level officers in the Pentagon, replacing them with sycophants. This is why, for six hours on Wednesday (Jan. 6), the Pentagon blocked the National Guard from containing an insurrectionist mob.
“Our system failed miserably because this man’s been allowed to dismantle every institution this country counts on.”
After Trump, these institutions need to be rebuilt and the moral compass of the nation needs to be reset to the point at which truth prevails — that truth and nothing but the truth is the way to run a government.
The Big Lie that the election process and the election itself were fraudulent needs to be trampled into a grave, needs to be countered with a major campaign to overcome beliefs that our systemic infrastructure is corrupt.
At the same time, the idea promoted by conservative President Ronald Reagan that “government is the problem” must be overcome. It’s just not true. If not for government, there would be no Medicare, no Medicaid, no Social Security, no clean water and air, no regulations, etc., etc., etc.
Let the radical conservatives call it socialism. They’ve been lying to the public for decades, hopefully ending with the Trump era. Regardless of what it’s called, the idea is to help the people; that’s what government is for, that’s what the U.S. government is for.
Benedict Arnold served with distinction as a major general during the Revolutionary War before he defected to the British enemy in 1780. He was a loser and a traitor. So is Trump, on both counts. But we the people were the biggest losers for four years.
Richard C. Gross, a correspondent, bureau chief and foreign editor of United Press International, retired as the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.