Unless a miracle happens Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States this coming Friday. Currently two issues are at the center of public attention: how did he get elected, and what kind of president will he be? As to the former, it is now obvious that FBI Director Comey helped Trump win by violating Justice Department rules and writing to Congress about Hillary Clinton’s emails eleven and two days before the election, but the role of the FBI has become a lot murkier since then. It appears that the agency has been sitting on information about ways in which the Russians may have co-opted Trump by collecting salacious material about him, and failed to investigate possible communications between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign to coordinate the release of damaging emails about Clinton. Comey’s actions with regards to the Clinton emails will now be investigated by the Inspector General of the Justice Department – someone who could be fired by president Trump as soon as Friday afternoon – and it is expected that Congress will investigate the FBI’s overall performance.
As to the latter, it is obvious that Trump will be violating the emoluments clause of the US Constitution the moment he takes the oath of office. The courageous Director of the Office of Government Ethics has made this clear in public comments on Trump’s refusal to divest himself from his business interests, and as a result this public servant will now be investigated by the same members of the House of Representatives who tried to get rid of the Office of Congressional Ethics on the first day of the new term. And next to the corrupt kleptocracy Trump will bring to the White House his administration promises to do irreparable harm to the environment, health care and education, while social and economic justice will become even more of a illusion than they are now in the US, due to economic and taxation policies. As for homeland security and foreign policy, it is telling that the only intended cabinet secretaries who made some sense during the congressional hearings were two retired four-star generals, while the candidate for Secretary of State blew a smokescreen that left everybody guessing about his positions.
Last Friday US Representative John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights era, called Trump’s presidency illegitimate, because of the way the Russians affected the outcome of the election by leaking stolen emails via Wikileaks. True to form, Trump shamelessly attacked Lewis the next day. The president-elect drags everything down to his own level, including congressional Republicans who won’t be inclined to start impeachment procedures even when the Constitution is violated.
As for how to deal with President Trump, next to organizing a wide resistance we have to hope for a complete failure of everything he tries to achieve and stands for. The Germans call this ‘Verelendung,’ and some people will say that it will cause pain to innocent people and damage to US interests, but if Trump succeeds there will be significant pain and damage anyway.
Trump and the Republicans will own every failure and pay the price in the next elections. For self-protection, we also have to see the humor in every screw-up and insane tweet, and laugh in their faces. It is a stress management technique we will badly need the next four years.