Four years ago, I watched in horror as Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.
It was mindboggling to many of us that he’d won the 2016 election, given the infamous Hollywood Access tape with his ribald comments about women and allegations about his mysterious relationship with the Russian government. Surely Americans would reject a candidate of that moral character — but such was not the case.
I had immense misgivings. He wasn’t even qualified to hold public office, let alone become U.S. president, and I wrote a commentary that day that outlined a long list of concerns.
But I concluded that piece by hoping that maybe Trump would understand the enormous responsibilities of the job and he would eventually grow into and respect the office of the most powerful leader in the world.
He never did. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Trump used his power to destroy alliances with America’s global partners and instead consorted with dictators and despots.
Nepotism and cronyism were the guiding principles in how Trump appointed individuals to powerful and consequential positions.
His allegiance was not to the U.S. Constitution, but to Trump himself — and to the white supremacists who cheered his racist views.
But his most egregious offence against the American people was his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His indifference, his ineptitude and his lying may have contributed to hundreds of thousands of needless deaths.
From the outset, he downplayed the severity of the pandemic. He handcuffed and stifled the medical experts who raised red flags. And in typical Trump fashion, he made the rapid spread of the virus a Republican-vs.-Democrat issue instead of a public health crisis.
The light was shone on Trump’s immoral deception when Pulitzer Prize-winning author Bob Woodward released audiotapes of hours of conversations between him and Trump, in which Trump readily admitted that he was intentionally misleading Americans about the threat and devastation of the virus.
For many Americans, it was a bridge too far. Attitudes changed. Disenfranchised and disheartened voters began to mobilize.
American voters responded in huge numbers last November and voted him out of office.
But Trump would have one more revolting encore performance.
He made false claims about election fraud and refused to accept the results of how Americans voted.
He topped it off by inciting a rabid crowd of thugs to storm the Capitol building in an attempt to thwart the Congressional acceptance of the election results.
It was Trump’s final assault against American democracy.
On Wednesday, America turned the page.
It will take a long time to heal the wounds inflicted during the last four years.
But Trump’s banishment from the halls of power is the first step in making America great again.
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