Regardless of what happens to Donald Trump at the hands of the state of New York or the United States Senate, history will now be his greatest judge. His first appeal to it, and last as chief executive, was issued to the American people Tuesday. It is of interest to note its contents.
“To serve as your president has been an honor beyond description. Thank you for this extraordinary privilege.” Standard stuff.
On the vaccine: “They called it a medical miracle. Another administration would’ve taken three, four, five, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did it in nine months.” Absolutely right. An extraordinary achievement that will be ignored in the contrived hoopla over the coming Biden “victory” over Covid-19.
“We proudly leave the next administration with the strongest and most robust border security measures ever put into place.” Quite correct. And it will be gone very soon.
“As I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning.” He didn’t hand over power without a fight. That will not be looked upon well. His movement has been based around him. Thus, it has a shelf life and is already far from the beginning.
“I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars.” True, a stupendous achievement. He was, and is, an international peacemaker. He should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a couple of times over for North Korea and the Middle East.
“I did not seek the easiest course, by far it was actually the most difficult. I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices, because that’s what you elected me to do.” Yes and no. He was elected to govern competently, with maturity, and with appropriate tone. He achieved one of those. His actions since he lost the election make this question highly problematic.
“Shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions. In America, we don’t insist on absolute conformity or enforce rigid orthodoxies and punitive speech codes. We just don’t do that.” Bingo. In America we disagree but listen. Only cowards suppress speech they don’t agree with.
“America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree. That’s not who we are. It will never be who we are.” Never is a long time. Pray he is correct.
There are many ways to look at Donald Trump. It may be even too early to attempt that. But for good and ill, I think, to paraphrase Shakespeare, that the elements in him are so mixed that they say to the world, “This was a man.” The man certainly did a good job for America in many ways. Whether he left his office a better place than he found it, history will decide.