Trump’s Farewell: Shakespeare, not Hollywood

Following the lost election, the parting President concludes the drama

Trump the President has fought for four years to be recognized as a Great Statesman and to be remembered as one of the greatest Presidents in the history of the USA. Now, he is presiding over one of the most depressing departures from the White House in the country’s modern history. The fault is not in the stars — the faults of the protagonist of this American drama have been completely sufficient.

A ruthless plan behind the election fraud claims

One may even question whether triggering the violence in the Capitol on January 6 was deliberately intended by Trump. The strategy of the closest Trump circle in the run-up to the riot probably rather aimed at creating so much confusion and doubt about the election outcome that a sufficient number of Republicans in the Senate would object to the certification of the electoral college. This would have offered the state legislatures the possibility of selecting their own electors. If several states with Republican majorities in their legislatures but where Biden had won the majority of the popular vote had then decided to ignore the electorate and to choose Trump-friendly electors, the electoral college vote might have been swung in favor of Trump, at least theoretically. CNN analyst Fareed Zakaria had already considered this possible development in September 2020, while the New York Times discussed it just one day before the decisive vote in Congress.

2020 — the year of bad omens for Trump

But things turned out differently. Almost the entire year of 2020 had already indicated Trump’s demise by a number of bad omens. While the President could still celebrate the acquittal in the (first) impeachment procedure and economic records at the beginning of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic then forced him into a role for which he was obviously ill-suited. As agonizing as the pandemic dragged on over the course of the election year, as merciless did it tempt Trump to present himself as the wrong President at the wrong time. His hopes into the ‘miracle drug’ hydroxychloroquine were disappointed. While he has not advised injecting bleach, his constant fights with the press took up much more room than the communication of health risks. While it is further not proven that Trump’s COVID-19 infection was caused by his negligence of the precautions, him falling ill with COVID-19 neatly fit the public’s perception that the President was not taking the pandemic seriously enough. COVID-19 cranked out bad headlines and pictures for Trump non-stop.

The tragic irony of the President’s downfall

The tragic irony in the tradition of an English poet here is that the same characteristics and talents that had initially enabled Trump’s rise to power later sealed his political fate and downfall. Trump has often and accurately been described as a master of persuasion. Remember that a single Twitter account was sufficient for him to communicate entire narratives about America and his policies to millions of voters and past the traditional media. His packed campaign rallies across the country offered him the possibility of testing new slogans and nicknames in real-time interaction with thousands of his supporters.

Photo taken by Tyler Merbler. Source: Wikimedia Commons. License: CC-BY-2.0

A very Trumpian farewell

Trump will not leave Washington, D.C. behind on a conciliatory note. Neither will he welcome his successor Joe Biden at the White House, nor will he be seen off by Biden prior to his departure into presidential retirement. Not under any circumstances, Trump will join the decorative ranks of former Presidents in the background of Biden’s inauguration. It was hard to imagine anyway.

Economist. Reader. Writer. Hiker.