Make no mistake. Trump’s behaviour in the last two weeks in office was highly objectionable, if not much worse. His call to the mob was indeed outreagous. As CNN loves to repeat, the peaceful transfer of power is the hallmark of every democracy, first among them the United States, where there is a constitutionally long transition period that is required in part also by the complexity of the government.
However, we learned in school that the institution of impeachment applies to sitting presidents, in order to attempt to remove them for having committed the highest crimes in the book, including treason. While it isn’t clear that it shouldn’t apply to a president in the last days of his term, as Trump was, impeachment wasn’t framed by the founding fathers as a way to continue a political fight once the president has left Pennsylvania Avenue. The Democrats have four years now to prove their case to the American people and if the Republicans were to run again with Trump in 2024, they will have to beat him at the ballot box.
One fails to see how the continuation of this vendetta post his term will help the healing of the nation and especially Biden’s agenda. Paraphrasing Nikki Hayley, our preferred Republican candidate for 2024: give both guys, Trump and Biden, a break!
Americans were once known to have a high degree of respect for the office of the presidency, irrespective of who was the current incumbent. In particular, there was a bipartisan understanding that ‘like him or not,’ he is the elected commander in chief. When Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was asked by Congress to address them in March 2005 to discuss the topic of the imminent Iranian nuclear threat, many democrats decried the invitation, and the speech, as an affront to the presidency. Today, no more. The New York Times is of course no fan of Mr. Trump, but these days they appear to be very tame when compared to the vitriol coming out of CNN, whose journalists and anchors can’t literally go an hour without attacking, criticising, ridiculing, and disparaging their sitting president. Of course, Trump is no saint and he has faults of his own for discrediting his credibility, for which he should be appropriately criticised. The problem is that when the discredit came from a democratic president who violates the ‘sanctity’ of the Oval Office, or the other one who drew red lines and then forgot about them, we didn’t hear the respective voices or the pens of Wolf Blitzer, Roger Cohen and Thomas Friedman scolding them in anything close to the same way they daily abuse the 45th President.