Updated: Jan 22, 2021
Two days after the nation quietly honored civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the failed racist and deplorable presidency of Donald John Trump comes to an ignominious conclusion.
The inauguration of our new president, Joe Biden, and vice president, Kamala Harris at noon January 20 will launch a new administration that has promised, perhaps above all else, to heal the deep wounds of hate and distrust ripped open and left to fester by Trump and his enablers within the Republican Party.
It brings to the seat of power Biden, a statesman determined to mend divisions and launch a new era of cooperation that can result in progress for the American people, and Harris, the first female vice president, who also is a woman of color, and who will be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Abandoned by many of those who gave comfort to his despicable actions over four years in office, and denied of his request for a huge military parade in his honor, Trump slinks out of Washington with the approval of only 34 percent of the American people, and a Republican Party in disarray.
The departure fanfare that had been sought by Trump was rejected by the Pentagon following the January 6 attack on the Capitol by the Trump-incited mob, an action that resulted in his second impeachment by the House of Representatives. And, soon after the new administration is seated, the former president will face trial by the Senate, where some leading GOP members show signs of possible desertion.
Tellingly, Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in favor of attending mass with iBiden ahead of his inauguration, according to Axios.
Today, McConnell (R-KY) said Trump "provoked" the mob that stormed the Capitol, resulting in the death of at least five people, including two police officers. That provocation is at the heart of the single article of impeachment, charging that Trump incited insurrection.
“The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said as the Senate convened for the first time since the attack.
Those comments followed an earlier McConnell statement that he had not decided whether to vote to convict Trump or not, adding that Republican senators were free to vote their conscience. Thus, unlike Trump's first impeachment, his acquittal is not at all assured, with the Senate now under Democratic control. Conviction will require "yes" votes from 17 Republican senators, in addition to all 50 Democrats.
With the nation reeling from the Covid pandemic, which has taken the lives of 400,000 Americans as of today, Trump virtually ignored that tragedy. Instead, he spent his final weeks in office focused on his owns grievances, falsely claiming the election was stolen, filled with fraud, and that he won "by a landslide" despite officials results that showed Biden won by more than 7 million votes.
And then, on January 6 standing before a huge mob that he had encouraged to come to Washington, Trump urged them to go to the Capitol and "fight" as lawmakers met in joint session to certify Biden's election. They did, and disaster followed.
"We need to set a precedent that the severest offense ever committed by a President will be met by the severest remedy provided by the Constitution — Impeachment and conviction by this chamber as well as disbarment from future office," said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
And so will end the tumultuous Trump presidency, one that stoked racial unrest, encouraged White nationalism, and gave life to harmful conspiracy theories and those who support them, many of whom participated in that deadly riot at the Capitol, encouraged by the president to do so.
Even in the waning days of his presidency, Trump's administration has made an attempt at rewriting America's history of racism.
The 1776 Report by the 1776 Commission created by Trump in September was prepared by a team of conservative activists, politicians and intellectuals, not historians. "The report charges, in terms quickly derided by many mainstream historians, that Americans are being indoctrinated with a false critique of the nation’s founding and identity, including the role of slavery in its history," wrote The New York Times.
That report was one of Trump's farewell "gifts" to the nation, one that White supremacists and other racists undoubtedly will use to support their own divisive claims. The Times quoted James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association as saying the report was not a work of history, but of "cynical politics."
(UPDATE 1/22/21 -- The report has been removed from the White House website and the commission that created it has been disbanded.)
Actually, cynical politics were the hallmark of the Trump presidency -- the use of cynical political efforts to incite hate and division in order to hold onto, and encourage, the loyalty of those who formed his power base over those four years.
It was a successful strategy for Trump, striking fear in the hearts of Republicans who were loathe to oppose him, for a nasty Trump tweet could end a politician's career, so it was wise to avoid his wrath, no matter what.
But in the end, that proved to be Trump's undoing. It was many of those indoctrinated and rabidly loyal supporters, faithfully believing his lies, who carried out the January 6 attack. That act could result in Trump's own conviction and lifetime ban from ever serving in public office again.
That would be a fitting end to this sad chapter in American history.