I was planning to publish this post first time when Trump lost the election. Second time when the electoral college votes were cast. Third time when electoral college votes were certified. But no, I had to wait, as the guy and his presidency seemed to roll on and spin to yet another tangent. The guy kept on dominating the news. Still today when Joe Biden was sworn in he kept the lights on and the second trial for the capitol riot is still pending. So while this was the last day of his presidency, making a summary of his time and achievements over the past four years feels like a shot towards a moving target as we speak.
1. Trump made politics interesting again. I’d say that starting from his primary run he made politics, and not just US politics but politics all over place, a coffee shop topic. Trump was a change agent. And change is usually very good. Established institutions need shake-up once in a while.
2. Trump essentially started a trade war with China to balance down China’s continuous, unilateral business expansion in the US and across the world. He changed rhetoric and actual policy just like he had promised. I think the real key here was that he went in with trade as the lead argument which China also understands. That was a big ticket item where he delivered seemingly on his own.
3. Trump kept the US domestic policy focus on the economy. He quickly forgot the stupid wall and didn’t waste too much time on nonsense identity politics. Instead Trump kept on repeating his messaging on the economy and how stock indexes hit records, actually twice if you count the Covid recovery. All that was partly thanks to his and the GOP policies. No lefty can argue against that.
1. Israel and Middle East “breakthroughs”. Cannot be judged yet but those can have positive long term consequences. Or the other way around…
1. No principles or moral standards. Trump contributed big time in killing moral standards in politics worldwide — whatever there was left. It came with the populist agenda that kinda sucked him in over the years. But still, why did he need to lie all the time? It went to full time comedy show level at the end when even crazy consipiracy theories were called in.
2. No team play or predictability. When he ran he promised to nominate the best ever negotiators etc. to the top offices. However, after he had won the elections it became quickly obvious that he couldn’t build a team. And whoever decent he got also left, or was “fired”, soon enough and second class team members with no integrity came in. When Rex Tillerson called him a moron after his exit I think a lot of sensible guys took notice. At the end what he had left in his innner circle were basically his kids, Giuliani, and that total nuts lawyer who claimed Hugo Chavez stole the election. I’m not even going to his random exploits through Twitter except that I think the ban they gave him in the final two weeks was justified.
3. Losing US global political leadership (if you count out the trade war with China). That part made very little sense to anybody. Who can explain what was gained by playing friends with Russia and other long-term adversaries and going arrogant against allies? It looked like Trump went again here on his own against all possible advise from left and right. I hope Biden tries everything he can to reverse Trump’s damage here, starting today.
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Overall, while there were some clear positives, it became a clown show the longer he stayed there. It was about time he left today for good. I sincerely hope we don’t hear back from Trump or anybody like him at the top of US politics again.