Editorial: The case against Donald Trump

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, December 20, 2022, 10:56 PM IST
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Donald Trump | AFP

The Jan 6 U.S. House Committee that looked into the siege of the Capitol has in its voluminous report recommended that the Justice Department charge former President Donald Trump with four federal crimes: obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., aid to an insurrection and making false statements to the Government. No President, not even Richard Nixon involved in the Watergate scandal, was indicted in this manner by a House Committee. But then, none of the 44 Presidents before Mr Trump tried to sabotage the victory of their successors and stage a coup d’état. The nine-member committee comprising seven Democrats and two Republicans has done a thorough job as is obvious from the gist of the report.

Nonetheless, Mr Trump has nothing like a jail term to fear, at least for now. The Justice Department is not bound to act upon the recommendation of the House Committee. In fact, its own investigation into the Jan 6 incident is going on independent of the House Committee probe. Politically, however, it is a big setback for Mr Trump, who has not yet given up hope of running for President again. He has a large band of followers in the Republican Party who still believe he won all 50 states and Joe Biden’s victory was possible only through manipulation of the vote. They also believe Mr Trump’s presidency was the greatest and aver that if he had continued, the world would have been a better place to live in and the U.S. would have truly been the world leader, economically, militarily and morally.

Alas, the recent elections in the U.S. show that there has been a dent in Mr Trump’s base among the Republicans. More and more people have begun to realise that the ugly incidents of Jan 6, 2021, were stage-managed to avert a smooth transfer of power. The House Committee report is bound to open the eyes of at least some of his hard-core supporters, who would realise the true colour and character of their leader. Mr Trump has accused the Committee of ignoring his claim that he asked the violent mob to disperse much before it tried to storm Capitol Hill. Some may not agree with the criminal referrals the Committee made, though they believe Mr Trump’s hands were not clean. A presidential pardon may also save him, but for the present he is certainly in the political dungeon.

Accept a woman’s many roles

Maharashtra’s NCP legislator Saroj Ahire-Wagh created history of sorts when she attended the winter session of the Assembly with her two-and-a-half-month-old baby in her lap. The child remained snug as Ms Ahire-Wagh took part in the proceedings of the House. Many members, including the Chief Minister, walked up to greet her, while others took selfies with her and the baby. Ms Ahire-Wagh explained the reason for her action. As an elected representative of the people, she has a responsibility to raise their issues in the Assembly and seek appropriate redress. She also could not shy away from her responsibility to look after the baby when it needs her care the most. She has the onerous task of balancing the two duties as a mother and as an MLA.

In Kerala, a discussion on a similar subject occurred when District Collector Divya S Nair addressed a public function while holding her child. Some people criticised her while many others praised her. Both Ms Ahire-Wagh and Ms Nair were making the point that as women in key positions they could not shirk their responsibilities, either to their family or to the office they hold. How civilised a nation is can be judged from how women are allowed to meet their dual responsibilities. Crèches and baby-feeding booths are provided at the workplace so they can do their work without compromising their duty to their babies. This will encourage more and more young women to join politics and take up jobs. If a qualified woman has to sit at home to feed her baby, it is the state that loses. It is against this backdrop that both Saroj Ahire-Wagh and Divya S Nair deserve compliments.

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