On Tuesday night I stayed up far too late watching the cliff-hanger run-off election in the US State of Georgia which was set to dictate the balance of power in the Senate. Little did I know that I would be up the following night viewing what has been called an “insurrection” by many commentators. What happened was profoundly shocking and watched on live TV around the world. Here was the Capitol, the cradle of American democracy, being invaded by a mob incited by the President. Here was a deranged man enraged by Vice President Mike Pence refusing to do his bidding by blocking the counting of the Electoral College votes. Pence respected the Constitution which he had sworn to uphold. Trump was seeking to destroy it. This man has to face the truth. He lost the election. For his remaining days in office he has to be viewed as a danger to democracy. It would be too difficult to impeach him. However, the Vice President has now shown that he has the courage to stand up to him and he could perhaps get a majority in the Cabinet to remove the President from office by means of the 25th Amendment on the basis that he is unfit to govern. Personally speaking I would be delighted to see this happen as it would be a timely humiliation for a despicable man as he leaves the White House. Readers of this column know that I am no fan of the President but let me remind you of the principal reasons. He knew in March last year how deadly was the danger of this pandemic. If he had moved then to protect the lives of his citizens perhaps America might have avoided the ongoing carnage inflicted by Covid 19. This is a grotesque lack of leadership which is nothing short of a crime against humanity. For this he should be held accountable. There are, however, other crimes that Trump may have committed, the true consequences of which will only hit him when he no longer has the protection of the Oval Office. Letitia James, New York State Attorney General, admitted in August last year that she is investigating Trump’s business dealings. In addition, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is conducting separate investigations into Trump and the Trump organisation. This follows on the New York Times publishing Trump’s Tax Returns, where it showed he wrote off millions of dollars because of the payment of consultancy fees to his daughter, Ivanka. In short, he is in a whole heap of trouble because a Presidential pardon only effects federal crimes. So the Donald must be sweating, dreaming of exchanging the White House for the Slammer.
So where does this leave Biden ? Well on the bright side, the Democrats now have a majority in the Senate. He can now see all his Cabinet appointees gaining approval and he knows that he will be able to push forward with a progressive agenda. Most importantly, the fangs have been pulled from Donald Trump. The lunatic and his appalling family are a discredited currency. Many decent Republicans would have been deeply shocked by Wednesday’s events. In Trump’s delusional mind he has convinced himself he has 70 million followers. He does not, and it might be questionable whether he still has his base.
In a strange way, Wednesday’s events may have helped heal the divide by showing the people what they have in common, revering what Ronald Reagan called That Shining City On The Hill.