The fourth and latest indictment of Donald Trump, the former US President, could well prove to be his nemesis. For, it is not only for the harshest of offences, racketeering, for which usually mobsters are tried, but it is under a State law, in this case, Georgia, and therefore does not empower the US President to pardon himself in case of a conviction. In the previous three indictments there is at least a theoretical possibility that in case he wins reelection, Trump can direct the Justice Department to reverse all convictions or, in case these are still at a hearing stage, withdraw all cases. It is one of the marvels of the American system that even if he were to be indicted under a federal charge he could still become president should he win the poll. The Founding Fathers back in 1789 did not anticipate a situation that someone as sordid in word and action as Trumpwould one day lay claim to become America’s leader. The world’s most powerful country, the richest country, has such a poor leadership that even some of the Third World countries are fortunate to have leaders who ooze dignity and responsibility in and out of office. Trump is a rank opportunist whose support base is largely dominated by what Hillary Clinton had rather contemptuously called “deplorables”. The manner in which he sought to thwart the outcome of the presidential poll, inciting his base to raid the Capitol Hill, storm the two Houses of Congress, violently attack the security personnel, try and force the Vice-President Mike Pence to reverse the vote count and declare him the winner is a huge black mark against him, and Americans and America. We don’t think any other democratic country in the world would have still found support for such a leader.
The American tragedy, however, is that despite the most egregious behavior for any president in US history, Trump may still win the Republican Party nomination to challenge Joe Biden in next year’s presidential poll. Admittedly, Biden is getting old, tends to often commit verbal faux pas, hasn’t been the most inspiring president, but, when all is said and done, he has injected a good deal of order and decency in the conduct of both domestic and foreign affairs. The US allies and foes both heaved a sigh of relief expecting some predictability in how the most powerful country deals with them. Even a maverick president would have conducted himself better. Trump almost dismantled the post-War world order, riling the country’s European allies and endearing himself to dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Kim JongUn. In many ways Trump as president was somewhat of a joke, exaggerating vastly his own influence, making boastful claims, perennially pandering to the lowest common denominator. It was a sharp comedown from the erudite and always considered presidency of Barack Obama who epitomised good and responsible conduct. In short, it will be a pity if despite the four indictments, including the latest in Georgia for trying to induce a poll official to void about 12,000 Biden votes and declare him the winner instead, is nominated by the Republican Party as its candidate for the 2024 poll. He may still win the presidential poll — though the world at large will keep its fingers firmly crossed while all sensible Americans will hope against hope that they are spared four more years of derision and mockery by the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, not unlike our politicians who when finding themselves in the crosshairs of the law cry vendetta and witch-hunt, Trump’s standard response is to brazen it out, inciting his supporters against the authorities. He is right that these indictments ought to have come earlier in the Biden presidency, why wait when the nomination process was already on? Yet, this does not detract a wee bit from the seriousness of the charges. He ought to be made accountable for his clear and open breach of the law in a fair and expeditious trial. Because the US in more ways than one influences world affairs, be it in the sphere of global trade, national security, the United Nations et al, world capitals have a stake as to who will tenant the White House for the next four years after Biden’s current term ends on January 20, 2025. We hope the American voter will show maturity to elect someone who does not drive a coach and four into the established world order.