Close ↓
US President Donald Trump holds up a newspaper that displays a headline "Acquitted" as he arrives to speak at the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. - AFP

The United States’ Senate has done America an untold damage by acquitting President Donald Trump on charges of what two Georgetown University law professors Neal K. Katyal and Joshua A.

Geltzer call “a classic impeachable offence: abuse of public office for private gain”. Even the American public thought so.

In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll conducted in December, 75 per cent of Americans said they believed Trump did something wrong as part of his Ukraine extortion scheme.

As expected, Trump is unrepentant. Knowingly or unknowingly, the Republican senators — save for Mitt Romney who voted to convict him — have licensed the errant president to cast aside any law that stands in his way.

This is bad for America. Trump’s third state of the union address delivered on the eve of his acquittal hints at why. Expectedly, it was a reality show with lots of “you-are-fired!” moments. Trump snubbed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by refusing to shake her hands. She in turn tore up the president’s speech in full view of the television cameras.

Pelosi even skipped the perfunctory ceremonial introduction and its grandiloquent language — “I have the high privilege and the distinct honour of presenting to you the president of the United States”.

Quid pro quo. A glimpse of the Republican-Democratic acrimony that will hold the nation to ransom in the future? Likely. But the audience around the world took home a valuable lesson: how not to govern a country.

Exaggeration was aplenty in the made-for-television president’s speech. “Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again! America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise and America’s future is blazing bright.”

Just slightly fewer adjectives than we may find in our Merriam-Webster dictionary. As the wisdom goes, exaggeration happens when one loses touch with reality.

“Othering” wasn’t far away either. Tucked away in angry paragraphs were fiery references to sanctuaries for immigrants in California and New York. Criminal aliens, he called the immigrants. All of them? Trump even found space — a long paragraph at that — to justify the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, though many lawyers consider it a blatant breach of international law.

We ask Trump this: If Qasem was killed for taking an American life, how will the Vietnamese, Palestinians, Iraqis and countless others avenge the lives of their loved ones lost at the hands of Americans? Can they say what you told the august Congress: “If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life”?

A not guilty verdict is even worse for the world. Only last week — another sad day — Trump broke all the rules in the international law book by sanctioning Israel to annex more Palestinian land in what he called the Peace Plan of the Century. More like the Misnomer of the Century.

What kind of real estate dealer — Trump claims to be one — gives away land that he does not even own to another?

Our answer: a president who has no respect for code or convention. A Trump so unleashed does not bode well for the future.

Close ↓