Former US President Donald Trump’s heroic effort to seek re-nomination from the Republicans for the 2024 presidential elections seems to be on the razor’s edge as aide after aide has testified as to how he tried to coerce his Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 verdict electing Democrat Joe Biden to the White House, on the ill-advice of his attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Trump is making a valiant bid to garner support for himself for a 2024 re-nomination, capitalising on the crumbling house of cards on Biden’s table such as runaway inflation, lack of security in the shadow of Buffalo/Texas shootings, shortage of baby food, and unemployment in the aftermath of Covid-19.
But Trump’s own aides have testified against how he tried to incite a mob of rioters on the Capitol Hill on January 6, and they came within 40 feet of Pence before he was whisked away to a safe room.
White House attorneys during Trump’s presidency have testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee headed by Democrat Bennie Thompson, that time and again they had advised that Giuliani’s advice that the 2020 verdict could be overturned by Pence was illegal and unconstitutional and something that will not hold up in a court of law.
But Trump overruled their advice as he sought it on his self-belief that the election was stolen by the Democrats through the postal ballots that came in after the voting deadline (but polling booth officials allowed it on grounds of the pandemic), according to an analysis by the writer based on media reports such as USA Today, CNN, CNBC and others.
The country was then sharply divided on the 2020 presidential election results because of Trump’s accusations, though poll officials maintained the verdict was perfect and Trump had made false claims of a stolen election. This is the focus of the hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6 Capitol Hill riots.
Staunch supporters of Trump see him still as a “strongman” to resolve the nation’s crisis, though much of the problems that Biden faces today are legacies he left through his lack of enforcement of Covid protocols that led to the highest number of deaths in the country – at over 500,000 out of the five million affected – while more cautious Republicans are distancing themselves from Trump, media reports reveal.
Most Democrat-ruled states recorded a lesser number of deaths and infections as they had enforced Covid protocols like wearing masks, and maintaining social distancing strictly.
The most shocking event was when a retired judge of the 4th circuit, Michael Luttig called former President Trump as a “clear and present danger” to American democracy (an analogy drawn from Tom Clancy’s bestseller of the same name later made into a movie with Harrison Ford reprising the titular character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan up against a President, who abandons a band of Navy Seals sent on an undercover operation to Colombia to extract a drug lord).
Nothing could bite more than his comments on a former President on the weekend of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War that divided the nation on the issue of abolition of slavery when then President Abraham Lincoln freed thousands of blacks, who were brought as slaves from Africa as indentured labour to work in the corn fields of southern states. General Robert Lee, who led the Confederate Army, surrendered to Union Army chief General Ulysses Grant at Fort Appomattox with 700,000 soldiers on the wisdom that it was better to quit honourably than face the line of fire.
Perhaps these thoughts ride not only the mind of former Judge Luttig, who made the shocking deposition but also half of America which strongly disagrees with Trump that the elections were stolen. It’s sad that the majority of Hispanics and White youth that voted Biden and Kamala Harris in 2020 now think Biden may not be equal to the task of controlling inflation and the job situation. But the majority of elders in the Black and White community stand solidly behind Joe Biden knowing much of his problems are an inherited legacy from the Trump administration.
Let’s take a look at American perception today on major divisive and derisive issues such as stricter gun control laws and attack on Capitol Hill on January 6 by rioters allegedly incited by Trump who called his Vice President a “wimp” when he refused to toe his line to overturn the 2020 presidential poll verdict. Trump even went to the extent of saying Pence ought to be hanged which angered the nation.
Majority of Americans want strict gun laws in the shadow of Buffalo and Texas killings. The New York state Legislature at Albany took the lead in passing 10 pack gun law that prohibits sale of guns such as semi-automatics to youth under 21 years, enforcing strict background checks on gun salesmen and buyers, if the latter have an established record of mental health and are a danger to themselves and others.
Not to be left behind the national consensus, a group of 20 Senators formed the Bi-Partisan Committee comprising both Democrats and Republicans, on stringent gun laws, whose framework legislation is not appreciated by Americans as they feel it has not done enough to control gun violence.
The framework legislation does not disallow youths under 21 years to buy semi-automatics, has no clear guidelines on how to license a fire arms dealer in a federal manner, is weak on violence against women and mental health support to juveniles prone to violence to prevent them from committing a crime and the boyfriend formula who should not be allowed to possess a gun if he had a history of abuse against his girlfriend.
Now, 62.65 per cent of Americans who favour strict gun law and end to violence believe the framework legislation does not do enough justice to the situation and want more stringent measures like the New York State Legislature but a section of the Republicans, influenced by gun lobbyist, the National Rifle Association, say ‘No’ to the framework until they see actually what’s in it. Both parties are anxious as to how it’s going to be worded and enacted as a law.
Phoenix police chief Jeri Williams had told the Senate Committee that the Ethans law should be enforced throughout the country, though it now operates only in 15 states including Washington D.C. The law provides for safe storage of loaded and unloaded guns in a protocol that’s is strictly observed by law enforcement agencies. “It can save thousands of lives,” Williams had told the committee.
The country is sharply divided on gun laws and indicting former President Trump, though the mood is swinging on both on evidence that current legislation is weak to prevent recurrent gun violence like the Buffalo and Texas shootings and on the other issue, there was overwhelming evidence that Trump was allegedly falsifying evidence that the 2020 election was stolen by the Democrats and tried to coerce Pence to pursue “illegal and unconstitutional means” to declare the 2020 verdict “null and void”.
(Ashok Nilakantan can be reached at [email protected])