Donald John Trump (1946-?) was the 45th President of the United States of America, serving one 4-year term from January 20, 2017, to the same date in 2021 after defeating Hillary Clinton of the Democrats in the 2016 general election.
Trump's presidency was notable, not just for ending in an attempted insurrection, but for reneging on prior international commitments, upending longstanding diplomatic relationships, and engaging in brinkmanship with adversaries. Trump used social media such as Twitter to attack and embarrass critics, and adopted a harsh policy against immigration which separated parents from children at the border. There was also a concerted attempt by the president's administration to demonize and damage domestic federal agencies such as the EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey and those responsible for education, financial oversight, census-taking, and weather monitoring. Many of these measures were highly popular with his base of support, who regarded the U.S. government as bloated and as having failed them economically, in part by allowing rampant illegal immigration, and who liked the image Trump portrayed, via his "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) slogan, of a strong America as compared to the rest of the world.
In Nov. 2020, Trump ran for re-election but lost to the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. Trump may have lost (at least in part) because of his failure to acknowledge and manage the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, during which he failed to take any substantive actions himself and then withheld expected federal funds to punish states that proceeded to take public health measures on their own.
Trump vigorously contested the 2020 election results in a social media campaign called "Stop the Steal", though with no actual evidence (as determined by numerous lost lawsuits). Trump had to leave office when his term expired on January 20, 2021 after ending on a sour note with the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot, a violent assault by Trump supporters which Trump himself arguably incited and planned. The attack is widely regarded as an insurrection or attempted coup d'etat because it was intended to prevent the historically peaceful transfer of power between presidents. According to the "January 6th Report" compiled by a committee dominated by Trump opponents and later issued by Congress, the riot was the last of multiple futile attempts by Trump to get the 2020 election results overturned, as he also tried to intimidate various state and federal officials (including his own vice-president, Mike Pence) to take illegal actions designed to overthrow valid election results. So far, he has not been prosecuted on any of these allegations.
After the riot, as about one thousand of its participants began to be prosecuted, Trump's popularity waned drastically, although as of early 2023, he still commands a loud and potentially violent following and has control of enough funds to affect the future direction of the Republican party.
Trump is the only president in U.S. history to have been impeached twice.
- ↑ Trump was the 45th president the normal American way of counting, which reckons Grover Cleveland twice as he served two non-consecutive terms.
- ↑ The most consequential of Trump's withdrawals from prior international commitments was when he refused to state publicly that the US would adhere to Article 5 of the NATO Charter on the collective defense commitment of the treaty, thus severely undermining NATO's credibility. Given that Trump also withheld foreign aid for defense of the Ukraine that had been allocated by Congress, it is arguable that his actions increased the likelihood of Putin and Russia later attacking the Ukraine. Trump also withdrew the U.S. from from arms control treaties with Russia, from the Paris Climate Agreement, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from UNESCO, from the Iran nuclear deal, and from the UN Human Rights Council. Finally, Trump threatened to quit the World Trade Organization (WTO) on grounds that their decisions were not fair to the U.S. and proceeded to ham-string its court system by blocking the appointment of replacement judges to the point where the WTO had only a single judge left at the end of his administration.
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article Attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election for more details.
- ↑ Final Report by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, Dec. 22, 2022, 117th Congress Second Session, House Report 117-663
- ↑ After the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol building, six months went by while the 100-member U.S. Senate attempted unsuccessfully to create an investigative commission that would have consisted of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Only 54 (of 60 needed votes to prevent a filibuster) could be obtained. Thereafter, the house acted on its own to create a committee (not a commission) for an investigation. House Republican leaders first attempted to pack the committee with Republicans who were known "election deniers", but the Democratic leadership refused to appoint two of them, after which Republicans forbade all of its party members from participating. Nevertheless, two long-standing, respected Republicans were invited and accepted, breaking party discipline. They are Liz Cheney (then representing Wyoming, who acted as vice-chair of the committee) and Adam Kinzinger (then representing Illinois). Both were later censored by their party and lost their subsequent election as a result of their participation in the commission. So while one can say the committee was numerically dominated by opponents of President Trump, it could have had as many as five Republicans (and seven Democrats), but the Republican leadership (who were still under considerably political pressure from Donald Trump) clearly desired that there be no investigation at all, so it ended up as two Republicans and seven Democrats. During its investigation, the committee conducted public hearings over seven weeks that were widely watched on television and had a significant impact on public opinion. Out of dozens of witnesses, only one Democrat was called upon to testify. The importance of Liz Cheney's participation should not be underestimated; she is from a historically Brahmin family among Republicans, and her turning against Trump arguably marked a sea change for the Republican party. See Wikipedia's article Wikipedia:United_States_House_Select_Committee_on_the_January_6_Attack for more details.
- ↑ 24 Months Since the January 6 Attack on the Capitol at the U.S. Department of Justice website; shows the prosecutions still underway.
- ↑ Trump’s grip on the Republican base is slipping — even among his fans from the Washington Post, Feb. 23, 2023.
- ↑ The Jan. 6 committee says the Trump campaign ripped off donors. But was it illegal? at National Public Radio (NPR). After he lost the presidency in 2020, and before the riot, the Trump campaign took $250 million in donations given towards an election defense fund to pay for legal fees to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, but instead, the money went to the Save America political action committee, and then from there to several pro-Trump organizations which are headed by former officials close to Donald Trump's inner circle. This enormous pot of money is now being used to threaten and cajole Republican party members to adhere to Trump's choices or lose funding.
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article Impeachment of Donald Trump for more details of the two impeachment efforts against Trump.