Lessons on Trump’s self-destruction

FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras (The Freeman) - January 19, 2021 - 12:00am

On January 20, 2021, Joseph Biden will be sworn in as president of the US and Trump will be a footnote in history, as the only US president to have been impeached twice in his term. Even if he isn’t convicted in the Senate, the ignominy will be forever, and he will be facing lawsuits and many other legal cases that were deferred while he was still president. While his diminishing popularity and support have been ebbing from two years ago leading to his defeat in the 2020 election, the breaking point was the assault on the US Capitol while Congress was confirming the electoral vote count last January 6. Trump had promoted and instigated the attack for weeks in his social media feed to reverse his loss. Latest poll data shows his approval rating down to 29%, and 54% want him out of office. He has been banned from Facebook, Twitter, and most of the social media sites, and the banks and other businesses are distancing from him and his companies. Many of his Republican allies have distanced, his cabinet secretaries and other allies have resigned and his international reputation has cratered.

Prior to entering politics and the presidential race, Trump had a checkered reputation as a businessman with allegations of unfair dealings, tax evasion, and unethical practices. However, high-profile public relations and advertising established the Trump brand, which he parlayed into joint ventures and licensing agreements in the US and other countries. His family and moral reputation was less than sterling, but his multi-media self-promotion caught on that he got the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2016, even if he was one time a Democrat and had contributed to the campaigns of both parties in prior years. He achieved this by lambasting his convention rivals with false/fake accusations fueled by a well-funded propaganda machine. These went well with the extremists in the party as it cultivated and nurtured their resentments over race and immigration issues among the uninformed voters outside the urban areas. He doubled up on this strategy and tactics when he became president to whip up his base to support his programs, and to allege conspiracy/refusal to accept his defeat in the 2020 election. Despite the lack of evidence and the court dismissal of 61 lawsuits alleging election fraud, Trump, with the support of some Republican congressmen and senators, continued with the fake news of the election being stolen, leading to the storming of the US Capitol last January 6.

Trump’s journey to self-destruction didn’t happen suddenly, it was a gradual descent over time abetted by people around him. An unchristian upbringing attested by his siblings and relatives, driven by a success-oriented father may have led to an egoistic/narcissistic character lacking in the right moral values. In business and in politics he surrounded himself with people who wouldn’t contradict or question him and his decisions. His associates pandered and enabled him for their own reasons that he believed he can do no wrong and believed in his own lies and fake news. Even the Republicans who were against him, supported him or kept quiet, believing he was good for the party and for their future politics and careers.

Beyond the lessons above, self-destruction is actually an evolution assisted and abetted by the people around us. Power intoxication and infallibility are fed by enablers and supporters. Social media is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways, for and against anybody, and nothing is permanent. We are all mortals, we have to learn our lessons and make an Act of Contrition.

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