Trump’s shenanigans may be far from over

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Photo credit: Jim Watson | Afp

What you need to know:

  • Trump has been an awful steward during this crisis, calling the demonstrators the worst sort of names.
  • Trump has been impeached by the US House of Representatives, only to be saved by the Senate.
  • A good number have gone ahead to write highly damning books on Trump’s presidency.

I get baffled by Kenyans cheering Donald Trump to beat Joe Biden in November. It’s no wonder that, back home, Kenyans are mesmerized by characters they should never ever consider voting for.

Trump’s stock as president has plummeted due to his shoddy handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the US the worst of any country in the world.

To be fair, Trump did not invent the virus, but his incompetence in checking its spread has been epic. First he called it a hoax, then said “it will just go away”. He has promoted “miracle” cures like bleach and hydroxychloroquine, which the medical establishments have dismissed as bogus.

Meanwhile, the US is in the midst of the worst economic meltdown in a century, with the unemployment rate exceeding an unprecedented 10 per cent in July and GDP shrinking by 32.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

 To make things worse, the extrajudicial killing by police of a Black man in the city of Minneapolis in May unleashed the worst race riots in a generation. Trump has been an awful steward during this crisis, calling the demonstrators the worst sort of names.

Political persuasions

Trump is generally coarse and vulgar. Biden is indisputably a decent man. He has won respect over the years across people of different political persuasions ever since he was elected to the US Senate at the age of 29.

His selection of Kamala Harris, a Black-Indian-American senator as his running mate will undoubtedly calm the race divide as well as that of gender in America. She’s very smart and articulate. I am sure she’ll make mincemeat of Vice-President Mike Pence during their pre-election debates.

Trump has been impeached by the US House of Representatives, only to be saved by the Senate. His crime was to seek to push Ukraine to do an underhand investigation of Biden’s son (Trump already foresaw Biden would be his most formidable presidential opponent).

Trump threatened to retaliate by cancelling an arms sale if Ukraine failed to oblige. There have been other investigations of Trump’s misconduct, chiefly the Mueller probe, which dug into allegations of electoral collusion with Russia in 2016.

For those who dismiss criticisms of Trump’s character, it helps to remember that these misgivings have been substantiated by very senior officials in his administration. In fact, the Trump administration has seen the highest turnover of high-level officials in living memory.

A good number have gone ahead to write highly damning books on Trump’s presidency. There’s former FBI Director James Comey, who described Trump’s behaviour as that of a “Mafia don”. Then there’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who narrated how Trump faulted George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 on the grounds that the US did not grab Iraq’s oilfields and turn over the oil to the US for free. Bizarre, yes.

Unflattering insights

Bolton also related how Trump demanded the post-War occupied nations of Germany, Japan and South Korea pay in cash for their occupation by the US.

Even Trump’s family members have given very unflattering insights into the man. His niece, Mary L. Trump, has detailed how he is selfish and totally amoral. The most devastating book yet, written by Trump’s former personal lawyer and ‘fixer’, Michael Cohen, is scheduled for release next month. A pre-publication teaser tears into the President as somebody who is essentially a crook and a racist. It also bears repeating that Trump is the only one of modern US Presidents who has completely refused to turn over his tax returns.

The transgressions of the Trump circle are amply attested to by the many close associates who are serving jail terms, or facing criminal indictments. Paul Manafort, a former campaign official. Roger Stone, a trusted confidante. Cohen himself, only recently released from jail where he was writing his book.

A few days ago, Steve Bannon, certainly the most influential White House aide in the early days of the Trump presidency, was arrested and charged for fraudulent fundraising in the name of the Mexico border Wall, one of Trump's prime obsessions which he said Mexico would pay for. The Wall's rationale was to block immigrants from Mexico, who Trump called “animals”. Africans were no better in his eyes. We were labelled “shitholes”.

The Trump presidency has been nothing but a chaotic roller coaster. I am not a betting man, but I would wager Americans will get back to their senses and elect Biden as their 46th president on November 3.

Yet we may not have seen the last of Trump’s shenanigans. He has openly grumbled that he will reject the election results if they are “rigged”, meaning if he loses. His gripe is with mail-in voting, which is unavoidable with the Covid-19 pandemic.

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