Countdown to sanity: only seven weeks left in the Trump presidency! Yet another week goes by where Trump still does not concede the election. He tweets almost daily like a deranged madman who “can’t accept the results of an election with hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes cast.” He and his undemocratic coup-plotting lawyers continue to contest and litigate election results in numerous states. But even conservative Republican nominated judges are throwing the cases, with one saying the allegations were put together like “Frankenstein’s monster.” No other presidential contender in the nation’s history has filed so many legal claims attempting to undermine if not overturn an election. The harm Trump is doing by encouraging his millions of voters to think the election was rigged may rip the country further apart when he finally does leave office and make the divided nation largely ungovernable; his final act of domestic terrorism.
Despite Trump’s denial of reality, more states continue to certify their results building momentum to the Dec. 14 electoral college vote. Biden continues to hold 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. A few more Republicans with spines acknowledge President-elect Biden’s win, while most stay silent which makes them complicit in the damage being done to our representative democracy. Former NJ Governor Christie said publicly what most Americans are thinking, it is a “national embarrassment” and the transition of power should commence.
In a refreshing empathetic Thanksgiving eve address to the nation, President-elect Joe Biden appealed for unity and asked Americans to put our differences aside to fight the pandemic and repair the damage done. Meanwhile Trump spent the holidays tweeting out more denials of the election, falsely claiming “we won it by a lot” and there was “massive fraud.” He did, however surprising, say he would leave the White House if the Electoral College formalizes Biden’s victory. But then he added that “a lot of things” would happen between now and then. Hmm, of course he likely has a surprise planned to hose up the Electoral College now that he has lost the election day vote, lost the recounts, lost the court cases, and lost the state certifications. That only leaves the Electoral College left to corrupt as he has done to so many other institutions and norms of our democracy.
While it would take more than Trump flipping one state’s electoral votes to reverse the election, what if he conspires to have one or more state legislatures or governors to not allow electors to vote, or worse appoint a competing slate of electors, then run the clock out to the Supreme Court? Trump previously tweeted that the Supreme Court, in which he nominated three justices, should decide the election. His surrogates have already said they are going to SCOTUS. I expect he will say he will not vacate the White House until it was settled by the high court.
Trump briefly participated in a virtual meeting of the G-20 leaders hosted by his fellow strongman-led country Saudi Arabia. He spent most of his energy denigrating the Paris Climate Accord which he withdrew the US from earlier this month, claiming it would cripple the US economy and still not save the planet. How ironic that the President’s failure of leadership over the COVID-19 crisis has crippled the economy instead. During the meeting it was China’s President Xi Jinping that took over global climate leadership as the largest economy now fully supporting the Paris accord. Trump left the meeting early to go play golf for the 3rd week in a row. All during a week when over 2,000 Americans a day were dying from not just Coronavirus but from the Trumpvirus reckless mishandling of the nation’s response to it.
With time running out, Trump begins to pardon his den of criminal associates. This week it was former national security adviser Michael Flynn who was found guilty of lying to the FBI concerning his contacts and conversations with Russia about relieving sanctions, all before Flynn or Trump took office. With as many convictions as there have been during his term, there will surely be more pardons to come. So many I expect that when Trump attempts to pardon himself we will once again be numb to his brazen abuse of power and corrupt behavior.
The GSA has given the go ahead for funding the transition effort, paving the way for the President-elect to receive daily national security briefings that Trump was said to mostly ignore. Biden continues to build his new administration with nominations of deeply experienced, richly diverse, and widely respected officials for key leadership roles. His cabinet picks have the same diversity that their country does; White, Black, Hispanic, men, women, immigrants, young and old. This is the fabric that makes America truly great, All this in stark contrast to Trump’s revolving door of largely unqualified inexperienced white male loyalists.
The most uplifting news came with the appointment of former Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry as special climate envoy. There are few statesmen as qualified as Kerry to repair the US’s reputation and reliability as an international partner in the fight against climate change. Kerry had been instrumental in negotiating the Paris Climate Accord during the Obama administration. With this announcement, Kerry will also have a seat on the National Security Council where the threat of a changing climate will once again be taken seriously, unlike the Trump administration which dismissed it, just like it did Coronavirus until it was too late.
Trump’s pandemic economy continues to falter with another nearly 800,000 Americans filing for state unemployment benefits last week. Far more jobs are being lost than the administration can claim are being created. With pandemic aide programs expiring at the end of the year, many millions will fall off financial assistance roles and eviction moratoriums that kept them afloat and in their homes. Nearly 10 million are said to be receiving federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Another 4 million are from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation which extended benefits for 13 weeks beyond their state’s program. Personal incomes also fell for the last month triggering only a marginal increase in consumer spending. Economists are now predicting a double dip recession, not the “V” once widely expected, and that the winter will be grim. Trump is showing no leadership in bringing Congress to act on a new pandemic relief bill. He has just given up on America, as Biden once said. Nevertheless, for the investor class under Trump, the economy must look great. The DOW topped 30,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 set another all-time high. The “K” recovery does appear to still be intact.
Apparently not content on leaving office without yet another international crisis that could have been avoided, a senior Iranian nuclear scientist was ambushed and assassinated this week. While it is expected that the Israeli’s did this, it would be unthinkable they did it without the knowledge or support of Washington. Former CIA Director John Brennan called it “a criminal act and highly reckless.” This was the third time the US is alleged to have been involved in the assassination of Iranian government officials and citizens. The last time Iran launched a borage of missiles at US bases in Iraq. Not surprising, the Iranians announced they will seek revenge once again.
The pro-life President who is a big fan of the death penalty had his Justice Department quietly amend federal execution rules to clear the way for use of firing squads, electrocutions, and poison gas in addition to lethal injections. This after the federal government resumed executions with eight already having been killed this year, more than in the previous 50 years. Four Black men are scheduled to be put to death before Trump is due to leave office. The United States of America falls one more notch down the ladder of universal human rights. I do wonder if former elected office holders could face the similar sentences if they are convicted of bank fraud, obstruction of justice, extortion, campaign finance law violations, sexual assault, emolument crimes, treasonous and seditious behavior, human rights violations, approving war crimes, inciting violence, and of course negligent homicide through dereliction of duty that ultimately contributed to the avoidable deaths of thousands of Americans.
To read more news of the pandemic from the 2nd to last month of the Trump presidency, and his failure to protect the country and its citizens from harm, visit Bearing Witness to the Pandemic November 2020.
The above news items have been taken from a number of local, regional, national and international news media including print, broadcast, and digital sources, but no social media. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.