The downfall of Donald Trump

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By Rebekah Crawford

There was a certain poetic justice to Donald Trump’s undoing. I’d even call it Shakespearean.

Image: Tyler Merbler

13 January 2021

On 6 January 2021, the Trump era ended spectacularly, in the dark carnage Trump alluded to in his inaugural address delivered four years earlier.

As horrific as it was to watch the Capitol stormed and invaded by Trump’s seditious mob, there was a certain poetic justice to the fall of Trump. His narrative arc – starting with his ride down the gold-plated escalator to announce his presidency and ending with the storming of the Capitol – was perfect. I’d even call it Shakespearean.

Prior to that, his death grip on the Republican party was as tenacious as ever. This was attested to by the fact that over 150 Republicans were willing to argue against the electoral votes and pretend that the election was fraudulent.

Republicans (I see you Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley) were already vying against one another in their pathetic attempt to see who could show the most loyalty to an outgoing president, as if Trump would ever support anyone not named Trump. Did the last four years teach them nothing?

But still, it was a wrenching blow that Trump would retain so much power, that he would still be the titular head of the Republican party and that any Republican politician hoping to win an election would have to grovel at his feet to gain access to his base. Sure, he had lost the presidency, but he had retained far too much power for an outgoing president and we had to grudgingly accept that that was the price we had to pay.

That was the equation until 6 January. In just a few hours, the entire playing field was thrown up in the air and, although the pieces have still not landed, everything has changed. Trump’s name will forever more be associated with sedition, with violence, with images of the Capitol being stormed by people wearing MAGA hats, carrying confederate flags, some even bearing Nazi tattoos.

His political capital evaporated for himself and for his adult spawn. He will hold no clout with the Republican party. He will be prosecuted for federal and state crimes. He may even serve time in prison. If he does, he will simply be a prisoner paying for his crimes, not the martyr people were once afraid he would become.

His debtors will come after him. His money will dry up. His welcome, tenuous to begin with, is worn out. Trump and his brand just got destroyed. Goodbye licensing deals. Goodbye new hotels and developments. Goodbye power. Goodbye everything. Melania? Are you still there? I didn’t think so.

What will the run up to Biden’s inauguration bring? Will Pence invoke the 25th amendment?

He might.

Will Trump resign, allowing Pence the opportunity to pardon him? I wouldn’t bet on a Pence pardon now. Any association with Trump from this day forward is toxic. Whatever future political ambitions Pence has, he was just given a lucky break; he has the perfect excuse to extricate himself from his firmly lodged position up Trump’s ass.

I hate to give him this gift just as I hate that all the Republicans who bended to Trump’s will and enabled him these last four years, who are as responsible for what happened yesterday, were also given a Get Out of Jail Free card. I will not forget them.

They can use this card to disassociate themselves from Trump, to pretend these last four years didn’t really happen, to pretend that, “Goodness Gracious he has gone too far. I did not sign up for that.” As if he hadn’t gone too far when we heard him say he could get away with grabbing women by their pussies. Or calling immigrants rapists and killers. Or saying there were fine people on both sides in Charlottesville. Or putting children in cages. Or banning Muslims from entering the country. Or all the race-baiting and voter suppression and the over 20,000 lies he told wasn’t enough.

They made their beds with Trump and pretending to find a conscience now is not good enough. They might “get out of jail” but they are still criminals. 

For anyone who has been paying any attention at all these last four years, the storming of the Capitol does not come as a surprise. It’s the natural culmination of four years of hatred, division, racist rhetoric, conspiracy theories, untruths and alternate realities. The only surprise is that it came so late. If this had come a year ago, his party would have stood by him. With just two weeks of power left, it’s easy to jump off a sinking ship. Rats do it all the time. It’s called self-preservation. 

Trump was stoking a civil war. Except the other side didn’t show up. It turns out he never needed the other side; he only needed members of his own party who refused to do his bidding. Pence was inside that building. So was Vice President Elect Kamala Harris and every single senator and member of the House.

They were the target because they were doing their job. In the ultimate Trumpian move, he provoked his terrorists to march on the capitol and delay the democratic transfer of power. Today, someone is dead and blood has been spilled in the Capitol. You got your carnage, Mr Trump. Now be off with you little man. We have to clean up your messes.

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