Triumphant Trump
Opinion

Triumphant Trump

T P Sreenivasan

T P Sreenivasan

President Donald Trump literally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and began marching towards his second term when the Senate overwhelmingly defeated the impeachment move of the Democrats. He celebrated his victory in anticipation by delivering the State of the Union Address a day before the impeachment. The House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi watched in desperation as Republicans applauded every sentence spoken by the President, often with standing ovation. Trump ignored her completely and did not even shake her hand.

The media did a quick fact check of Trump’s claims and found several inaccuracies, but nothing serious enough to warrant another impeachment or down gradation of the triumphant optimism of his clients. What they found was that the many of the accomplishments that the President claimed, were the results of policies adopted by his predecessors, particularly Barack Obama. Nancy Pelosi simply tore off a hard copy of the State of the Union Address in revenge, dismissing it a “a collection of false statements”, marking a new low in the relationship between the Republicans and the Democrats.

Trump spoke like a winner in the combined session of the Senate and the House in the House Chamber. Nationalism and patriotism were evident, but not democracy or global cooperation. “Three years ago, we launched the great American comeback. Tonight, I stand before you to share the incredible results. Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again. America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise, and America’s future is blazing bright,” he said, giving a gist of what he was going to say.

The President boasted about his relationship with China, though love-hate was the theme of his statement. He characterised his new agreement with China as groundbreaking and said that it will “defend our workers, protect our intellectual property, bring billions and billions of dollars into our treasury, and open vast new markets for products made and grown right here in the U.S.A. For decades, China has taken advantage of the United States. Now we have changed that.” At the same time, he claimed that the US had the best relations with China ever, including personally with President Xi.

Trump described his futile attempt to pull out of Afghanistan as tremendous progress on account of the determination and valour of American fighters. “I am not looking to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, many of them totally innocent. It is also not our function to serve other nations as law enforcement agencies.” He went on to say that American soldiers either want to fight to win or not fight at all. “We are working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home.”

He ended his State of the Union Address with a flourish.“This nation is our canvas, and this country is our masterpiece. We look at tomorrow and see unlimited frontiers just waiting to be explored. Our brightest discoveries are not yet known. Our most thrilling stories are not yet told. Our grandest journeys are not yet made. The American Age, the American Epic, the American Adventure has only just begun.” He virtually said that he will be there for four more years to make America great again. He had lined up people from different walks of life to prove his point about his successes, ranging from “President” Guaida to American veterans and school students, who had benefited from his successful first term.

Even as President Trump was savouring his performance, good news for him came from Iowa where the democrats could not even identify the winner. Chaos prevailed in voting, counting and declaring the winner till finally former Mayor Pete Buttigieg emerged as the leading candidate with Bernie Sanders in second place. Joe Biden, who was at the centre of the Ukraine controversy moved to the fourth position in the Democratic line-up for the Presidency. Absence of a credible opponent stared in the face of the Democrats right from Iowa itself.

The results of the impeachment vote were known long before the vote, but the solid support Mr.Trump got from the Republicans, except from Mitt Romney was a morale booster for him. He lashed out at the Democrats and emerged from the impeachment process as a winner. Yet for all of the drama, the path to an acquittal took the country right back to where it started, with both sides seeming to hold the same intensity of anger or despair.

In the end, the approval rating improved steadily, as though the impeachment had never happened. His successes — getting judges confirmed, passing the tax cuts — or his failures, like health care or the Mueller investigation did not seem to matter. His approval rating remained remarkably solid.

The voters seem to have already made up their minds about Donald Trump and the two parties. Those who are in favour of gun rights and against abortion rights would stick to him regardless of the impeachment results. Those who want more gun control and abortion to be available, the fact that the economy added several hundred thousand jobs in the last few months will not make any difference to their attitude to Donald Trump. But most observers believe that the exercise was worth it as there was no doubt that the President was guilty and should not have been let off without a trial. But politics transcends right and wrong and prevails at the end.

With a mix of fire and fury, the image of a peace maker (North Korea, China and Iran) solidarity of the Republican Party, the Democrats in disarray, reduced unemployment rates and tax cuts, Trump has triumphed in the short term. But November 2020 is still far away and there can be many slips between the cup and the lip. But the time has come to ponder over what another four years of Donald Trump will mean to the US and the world.

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The facts and views expressed in the article are those of the writer.

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