Implications of Capitol Hill violence on US politics, and the legacy Trump leaves behind
New Delhi: The US Capitol Hill was breached by a mob of Trump supporters Wednesday. The mob stormed the building and clashed with the police, leaving four dead.
In episode 656 of ‘Cut The Clutter’, ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta talked about the implications of the incident on US politics and what it would mean in terms of the legacy of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Gupta cited a tweet by Republican Florida senator Marco Rubio, which received massive backlash. Rubio had tweeted: “There is nothing patriotic about what is occurring on Capitol Hill. This is 3rd world style anti-American anarchy.”
There was an immediate pushback for his invocation of third world imagery, to which he responded by saying, “I am a senator from Florida. How can I accept this? I am of Cuban origin. After the armed resurrection and installing of the Marxist regime a lot of Cubans left the country and came to America. That is what I meant when I said, third world style, anarchy, that these are things that do not work for America. This is a shameful thing. The Chinese are laughing at America..”
Gupta noted that these words from a conservative, Right-wing senator prove that the insurrection embarrassed everyone across the spectrum.
Comparing the situation to India’s, Gupta said, “In 2004, when the BJP government lost to Congress by just seven seats, party leaders like L.K. Advani or Atal Bihari Vajpayee did not try to swing the elections. They accepted their defeat graciously and handed over the reigns of power.”
Even in the US, such a thing has not happened in 200 years.
Furthermore, Facebook and Twitter suspended Trump’s accounts and the video where he incited the rioters was also removed from YouTube and other platforms.
Implications of the insurrection
According to Gupta, with the attack on the Capitol, a lot of discussion has arisen around the US Constitution’s 25th amendment.
Under the amendment, the US vice-president can take over as the president or relieve the acting president of his duties. This can happen only if more than half the members of the Cabinet come to the conclusion that the president is unfit to govern.
According to Gupta, since Trump was willing to incite an insurrection in his own country, he cannot be trusted. And according to American law, he holds all the power as president till 20 January, when Joe Biden will be sworn in.
Referring to an article in Bloomberg, Gupta noted that there may have been talks of some of Trump’s key people looking to resign. These people include his National Security Adviser and his deputy, Robert O’Brian, his deputy NSA Matt Pottinger, and Assistant to the President, Chris Little.
This incident has led to an “internal churn in the Republican party itself”, said Gupta. Trump ally Lindsey Graham, who has often supported him, has accepted defeat, and several Republicans have also laid down their arms.
Trump and America
Trump’s term has been more difficult for American allies than its adversaries, said Gupta.
“It is only in the last six months that he has reacted to the Chinese actions with anger. He was scolding the Germans, the French, the British, South Koreans, the Japanese, he was letting down his allies. And it had a lot of countries in the world wondering if they could take America at its word, as an ally, friend, or even as a sovereign country,” he noted.
He cited the turnover rate in the President’s team as an example. The turnover in Trump’s key team in the past three-and-a-half years was 91 per cent, which is the highest any president has ever seen in such a short term.
“In the end, what has happened has drawn much shame and embarrassment on America, but it has highlighted to them the downside of electing a demagogue like Trump,” said Gupta.
“Just because he seems to be anti-establishment, just because he seems to like to disrupt and you will enjoy it, there is a serious downside to it, which is systemic and which is organic,” he added.