The year 2020 began as a year of great possibilities for the embattled president. Early polls indicated he was not going to win a second term. A miracle was needed, and, as it turned out, a miracle was provided.
In the end Donald Trump needed an extra 7.5 million votes to win re-election. Those votes were handed to him free of charge in the form of a tiny bug known to the world as coronavirus. It was a free gift for the New Year. And he blew it.
Up until that time anti-vaxxer sentiment was largely a left-leaning cause. Trump could have seized his golden opportunity to unite Republicans behind a quest for a coronavirus vaccine, meanwhile scrupulously following the science and gathering up as many of the fence-sitting undecided voters he could get his hands on. This was Trump’s chance to become a hero, his chance to be a true man of the people, however false that may have been in reality.
It was as if the forces of the universe had gathered together to give him one final shot at becoming president again. Instead, what did he do? He promoted crackpot “cures” and made breathtakingly stupid promises that the virus would “go away by Easter.” He made fun of the science of prevention, made fun of mask-wearing and encouraged people to violate safe and sane guidelines in the name of “freedom.”
He did what he always did, he divided the country right down the middle. He showed that he was a little man, a petty man, stupid, crude, uncouth and ultimately wrong about everything he said about the virus.
And he lost the election in a minor landslide. He kept the votes of the idiots who were going to vote for him anyway, of course, but people who had no reason to hate him suddenly hated him because they lost a loved one in the wholly unnecessary nationwide pandemic he caused. And they voted against him.
But that wasn’t enough for Donald Trump, oh no. Instead of going gentle into that good night, Donald Trump spent the last fourteen days of his presidency making sure that he would go to prison. He knew what was coming on the sixth of January and instead of provoking the people in the crowd he could have given a conciliatory speech and insisted that the people he knew were there to cause trouble stand down.
Most would have obeyed him but even if they hadn’t the insurrection would have plausibly been seen as not his fault, particularly if he’d immediately called up the national guard to defend the Capitol Building. But we all know what he did instead.
And as if that weren’t enough, upon leaving the White House he stole documents he didn’t need — classified and top secret documents, documents that were intrinsic to national security and could potentially put the nation’s nuclear secrets and personnel at risk to foreign agents. Not satisfied to merely start an insurrection that ended in multiple deaths and destruction to government property, Donald Trump also proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he is a thief.
All in the last fourteen days. Think of it yourself. If he hadn’t done those things there almost certainly would be no subsequent criminal probes, no January 6 Committee, no ominous talk about how many years he would serve when he became the first former president of the United States to go to prison.
If he couldn’t save his presidency in the last year he could have at least prevented the events of the last fourteen days and avoided going to prison. But he did the exact opposite, and because Donald John Trump is arrogant, stupid, narcissistic and blind, he is almost certainly going to be criminally indicted in 2023.
So now I’m going to say to you, brothers and sisters, what Republicans insist that we Democrats never say. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas and a happy new year. The year 2023 could very well be the year the American people finally receive justice at last. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.