Instead of making a serious effort to deliver the COVID vaccine to US arms, Donald Trump’s last act has been a futile effort to invalidate the result of the November presidential election. He has launched at least 60 legal cases, appealed to the Supreme Court and called on state officials and governors to nullify 20 million votes in order to deprive Democrat Joe Biden of his victory and the presidency. The latest ploy of Trump supporters in both houses of Congress was to vote against certification of the Electoral College ruling in favour of Biden.
The aim of Trump’s charade is to sustain his relevancy on the political scene by energising his base of supporters in the legislature, the Republican party and the populace at large. He is not prepared to permit “Trumpism” or the “cult of Trump” to languish and disappear. He seeks to keep in play the prospect that he could, and would, seek reelection in 2024 when he will be 78 years old, the age of Biden as he moves into the White House. This, of course, could ensure that Republican lawmakers will remain loyal if they intend to stand in the mid-term elections in 2022 and blocked the way for fellow Republicans who would like to stand for the presidency in four years time. Incidentally, his actions kept them close and attentive to his every whim. Trump is interested in Trump and only Trump.
This being the case, it is difficult to understand why he refused to recognise the dangers posed by the coronavirus when it appeared and to deal with its deadly and destructive impact on the US. He would have won reelection if he had acted when COVID first appeared in the country. If he had forged widespread delivery of vaccines, he would have regained public confidence after months of denial and failure to tackle it by providing protection for hospital staff, roll out tests and mandated lockdowns, masks and social distancing. He did not even take action after he was hospitalised with the virus, his wife and youngest son were infected, and the contagion spread to dozens in the White House. Trump’s behaviour has cost the lives of a majority of the 350,000 people who died from COVID although he and those who adore him do not accept this hard fact.
Although he had mismanaged challenges he faced other than the virus, Trump’s behaviour during the corona crisis is inexplicable and cost him the election. His policy was to deny the existence of the killer virus, attack believers with insulting tweets, rely on the bad advice of “yes-Donalds” in his submissive, lying entourage and on Fox’s fake news, and listen to the cheers of maskless supporters crammed into mass rallies.
For anyone who thinks logically his attitude (I would not call it thinking) and approach to COVID is truly inexplicable. But then Trump is neither logical nor thoughtful. His character is deeply flawed and unsteady, making him erratic, unable to focus or to maintain a consistent, sustained effort to deal with any problem. These faults led to business failures and bailouts by his father and, ultimately, reality television. Even his political campaigning suffers from these deficits of character and personality.
He has always been overshadowed by his psychologically abusive father who drilled it into Donald as a boy and young man that he must never be a “loser” or admit mistakes. He seeks to be constantly admired and dismisses anyone who disagrees with or crosses him. A deeply insecure personality, Trump gets a boost when he fires an official or signs a decree or piece of legislation. He thrives on conspiracy theories and lives in an imaginary parallel universe while real life does not interest him. Unfortunately, he has infected millions of his followers with the belief in conspiracies and the pretend virus which is more dangerous than COVID.
The latest example of his failure to connect with “real life” was his hour-long telephone call with two officials in the Trump-contested state of Georgia, which he claimed he had not “lost” to Biden in the November election. “There’s no way I lost Georgia,” he said repeatedly. “There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.” This is a lie. He lost fewer than 12,000 votes. And, he lost in a general election in which Republicans gained seats in the House of Representatives and fought bitterly to maitain control of the Senate. He was not only a “loser” but an impeached “loser”.
When he demanded that the officials revise the figures which gave Biden the victory in that state, they refused to budge. When they remained firm on their count, which was carried out three times, he begged them to “find 11,780 votes”, which is one more than Biden won in Georgia. “I only need 11,000 votes, Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break,” he begged. When they denied him the votes, he threatened they would face criminal liability. Commentators have called on him to resign, arguing that the phone call amounted to conspiracy to commit election fraud and could make him subject to prosecution as soon as he leaves office on January 20.
Trump trusts no one, and during his four years in the White House he has destroyed public trust in government, an asset which was in short supply even before he was inaugurated. Due to Trump, the US is not seen as trustworthy on the world stage. Biden is expected to recover a certain level of trust but world leaders and populations will dread the return of Trump or an equally destructive Trumpite in four years time.