By Earl Bousquet
America just couldn’t keep up with president Donald Trump during his last 48 hours at the White House. Not that he was busy: he hadn’t any official diary appointment since losing the presidential poll on November 3, spending 16 days playing golf and ending his presidency like he started: watching TV.
Yesterday, it was still unclear if he would actually pardon 100 lawbreakers, or if his replacement would be able to jab 100 million COVID vaccines across America in his first 100 days.
President-elect Joe Biden also left Maryland on a private jet to head to Washington yesterday, because president Trump refused to make an official plane available.
The new president will also be taking office on the first anniversary of the day the first COVID-19 case was registered in the USA.
He and Kamla Harris, therefore, headed to a prayer ceremony to pay tribute to the 400,000 Americans killed by COVID-19 under Trump’s watch and the 23 million more who’ve tested positive.
The outgoing president has refused to attend his successor’s inauguration, causing a serious problem about the handing-over of the nuclear code from one to the other – and 25,000 National Guard troops to be assigned to Washington to protect what will be the least-attended presidential inauguration in US history.
So, whither Trump and Biden after Midday today?
Biden will formally put paid to Trump’s four-year presidency after taking his oath, but will be without a functioning government for some time, as Trump has also ensured they were unable to have Cabinet nominees confirmed in time.
Biden says ‘America is back – and not to retreat but to rule the world.’
He says he plans to take-on China, Russia and North Korea, to return the US to or rebuild peace with international entities Trump pulled it out of and to Make America Great Again in his own different way.
The national security crisis caused by Trump forced a ban on public marches, including the Reparations March planned for yesterday and today (January 20 and 21) by the Black Lives Matter movement and other representatives of Black and Brown America to remind him of their role in making him win – and of his promise that Blacks will have his back.
Biden also plans to pump $1.9 trillion into trying to Make America Happy and Healthy Again, but with an estimated 500,000 (half-a-million) COVID deaths estimated by the end of February, there’s already some legitimate concern that reversing or erasing the Trump legacy may trump the expectations of those awaiting reparations and ensuring Black Lives Matter.
Indeed, Biden will have to spend as much time-fighting Trump out of office as when it was the other way round, the latter, having clearly, demonstrated that he does not intend to roll over and die, or walk into his political sunset.
Having been digitally erased by the main Mega and Social Media platforms, Trump’s already reached-out to Elon Musk – the new World’s Richest Man – to create his own Trump online platform to accommodate as many as possible of the 90 million Twitter followers he had while at the White House and the 75 million Americans who voted for him.
His wife Melania reportedly under investigation regarding her immigration status at the time of marriage, banks closing-in on him and everyone he owes now feeling free to demand that he pay-up, Trump is not about to be allowed by his creditors to simply soak the Florida sunshine after banishing himself from his native New York – especially now that he’s stripped naked of his presidential powers.
Trump can be convicted of a criminal felony relating to his incitement of insurrection on January 6; and if the Democrats have their way, he’ll never run another election after twice being impeached.
That will only fortify his vengeance against Biden over the next four years, during which he’ll do his darned best to make life a living hell for the Biden-Harris presidency.
Biden & Co will throw all books at him, but Uncle Sam’s sons and daughters in and out of Washington will not allow a former US president to be jailed, which would be a stain on the presidency – and set a precedent no aspiring president will want to live with.
So, how do Caribbean people feel about Trump going and Biden coming?
Most couldn’t care less what happens in America today, the vast majority forced to care more about battling COVID-19 and surviving the economic its social impacts on these mainly small-island tourism-dependent states heavily dependent on visitors from the USA, UK and Europe, the veritable global citadels of the virus.
Jamaicans are hoping against hope that vice president Harris’ maternal connection to ‘Back-a-Yard’ will somehow allow her to do for her mother’s homeland what president Obama was unable to do for his father’s.
Saint Lucians are concerned about what the island’s health authorities have confirmed as ‘the third COVID wave’ as the number of cases positive cases have increased dramatically from just over three dozen in April 2020 to over 700 today.
Many are also concerned about possibly losing a very cherished and guarded freedom, with the social media buzzing amok yesterday with a rumor the government planned to ‘ban alcohol sales as of midnight.’
Like a thief in the night, the rumor turned true shortly before 9 pm last evening, through an unusual after-dark press release from the office of the prime minister, indicating sale of liquor was banned for 21 days from today.
But that’ll most likely be a heavy case for the police to police, because, just as necessity is the mother of invention, there’s no way Saint Lucians following events in Washington today who take an occasional or regular toke will not find a way to say goodbye (or good riddance) to Trump, or to welcome Biden, without knocking glasses while taking ‘one or two …’
And ‘One for the road…’