Washington – President Donald Trump left numerous clear clues that he would try to destroy everything before leaving the White House. The clues lie in a lifetime in which he has refused to admit defeat. They encompass a presidency marked by raw, furious rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and a kind of camaraderie with “patriots” from the ranks of right-wing extremists. The clues increased at the speed of light when Trump lost the election and refused to admit it.
The culmination came Wednesday, when Trump supporters, exhorted by the president himself to go to the Capitol and “fight passionately” against a “stolen” election, occupied the building in a violent confrontation that left a Capitol police officer and others dead. four people.
The mob arrived so emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric that many participants used live video platforms to show themselves destroying the venue. They thought Trump was going to back them. After all, it was about a president who, reacting to a revealed far-right plan to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan last year, responded: “Maybe it was a problem, maybe not.”RELATED
Throughout his presidency and throughout his life, demonstrated by his own words and actions, Trump hated losing and did not admit it when it happened. He presented bankruptcies as successes, stumbles in office as great achievements, the stain of impeachment as the act of heroism of a martyr.
Then came the greatest defeat: the election and, with it, desperate machinations that many politicians compared to the practices of “banana republics” or the “Third World,” but that were entirely American in the twilight of the Trump presidency.
Often with a wink or a nod over the past four years, sometimes more directly – “we love you,” he told the mob on Capitol Hill – Trump made common cause with fringe elements eager to give him support in exchange for his respect.
That formed a combustible mixture when the most was at stake. The elements had been adding up in plain sight, often in messages via Twitter. On Friday, Twitter terminated Trump’s account, denying the president his favorite megaphone, “given the risk of further incitement to violence.”
“I wish I could say that we didn’t get a glimpse of it,” President-elect Joe Biden said of the attack on the Capitol. But it is not true. We got a glimpse of it. “
Mary Trump viewed it from her unique vantage point as Trump’s psychologist and niece.
“It’s a very old emotion that he has never been able to process since he was a little boy: terrified of being in a losing position, terrified of being held accountable for his actions for the first time in his life,” Mary Trump told PBS a week after the election.
“He’s in a position to be a loser, which in my family certainly … was the worst possible thing,” he said. “So he feels trapped, desperate … increasingly furious.”
Post-election troubles were predictable because Trump had basically said what would happen if he lost.
Months before the first vote was cast, Trump said the system was rigged and the plans for voting by mail were fraudulent, attacking the process so incessantly that he could have hurt his own chances by discouraging his supporters from voting by mail. . Trump declined to guarantee the country that he would respect the result, something that has not even been asked of other presidents.
There was no pre-election evidence that it would be tampered with and no evidence after alleged massive fraud or huge mistakes that Trump and his legal team argued in numerous lawsuits that judges, appointed by Republicans, Democrats or Trump himself, consistently rejected, often calling them absurd. The Supreme Court, with three justices appointed by Trump, also rejected the argument.
But even that did not deter him.
“I hate defeat,” he said in a video in 2011. “I can’t bear defeat.”
But in the end the electoral result left him with no more resources, except for his fan base, who could not bear defeat either.
Trump’s record of endorsing false and often racist conspiracy theories with far-right roots is long.
He has endorsed supporters of QAnon, a convoluted pro-Trump conspiracy theory, saying he didn’t know much about his backers, “other than that I understand that they love me very much” and that “he’s gaining popularity.”
QAnon focuses on a supposed anonymous high-ranking government official known as “Q” who shares information about a supposed “deep state.” The FBI has warned that extremists driven by conspiracy theories, like QAnon, are terrorist threats.
In 2017, Trump blamed “both sides” for the fatal violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of a clash between groups of white supremacists and those protesting against them. He said there were “good people” on both sides.
In a debate with Biden, Trump refused to criticize the neo-fascists Proud Boys. Instead, Trump said the group should “stay away and be prepared.” That comment caused a storm and a day later, Trump tried to back down.
Trump also did not condemn the actions of a young man accused of gunning down two people and wounding a third during protests on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the summer. Kyle Rittehouse has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In October, the president decided not to criticize the people who planned to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.
“When our leaders meet, encourage or fraternize with national terrorists, they legitimize their actions and are complicit,” Whitmer said. “When they encourage and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit.”
For Mary Trump, the manner of her uncle’s defeat helped set the stage for the toxicity she said in November would occur.
Republicans in Senate and House races fared better than he did, enlarging the minority in the lower house and retaining their majority in the Senate, until Georgia’s two-seat second round tipped the balance. towards the Democrats.
His defeat on November 3 was his alone, not the party’s. “So you can’t blame anyone else,” said his niece. “I think he’s probably in a position where no one can help him get out emotionally and psychologically, which is going to make things worse for the rest of us.”
And the worst came.
Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, called Wednesday’s attack “the logical conclusion of rampant extremism and hatred” during the Trump presidency.
“If it surprises you, then you haven’t been paying attention,” said Amy Spitalnick of Integrity First, a civil rights group involved in lawsuits over the violence in Charlottesville.
On Thursday night, Trump appeared to attempt a unifying message, after months of provocation, saying in a video: “This moment requires reconciliation.”
But on Friday, the outgoing president was again caring for his “great American patriots” and demanding that they be treated fairly. He also said that he will not attend the inauguration of Biden.
He admitted that his presidency was ending, but he did not – or could not admit – his defeat.
Among all the insulting nicknames he has uttered against his political rivals – sleepy, whiny, corrupt, mad, mindless, weird, pencil neck, watermelon head, unhinged – none had an intention to hurt more than “loser.” And nothing, it seems, hurts more than when he is the loser.