THE Trump presidency is imploding.
It seems reasonable to suggest that he may, sooner or later, be impeached. If he is not, the world, especially America, will have to accept that the dominant superpower, the dominant economy, the democracy that imagines itself exceptional and uniquely “free” is in the grip of a president who is contemptuous of the principles that made America what it is — or, more sharply, what it imagines itself to be.
Comparisons are being made with Richard Nixon, pointing out that after barely four months in the White House Mr Trump has achieved the notoriety it took Nixon four years to realise. A more pertinent comparison might be to match the scandals generated by Trump since January to the fact that Enda Kenny — and Michael Noonan — leaves politics after more than four decades without a hint of corruption or dangerously inappropriate behaviour.
Nevertheless, and despite shameless lie after lie, despite sacking after sacking of troublesome-priest officials, despite an intervention to try to halt a potentially catastrophic investigation, despite a campaign to discredit a media that does no more than hold a mirror to his outlandish behaviour and despite his disclosure of sensitive intelligence to Russia, a majority of Republicans are unperturbed. Gallup reported his approval among Republicans this week at 84%. Among all Americans, his approval rating stands at 38%. In the light of his performance, those are incredible figures and show how very divided America is. Most importantly, it shows how America is turning its back on the norms that made it such a reliable ally and positive global influence.
These dangerous divisions are fanned by the right-wing media that has suspended objectivity and glosses over Mr Trump’s appalling behaviour as “fake news”. That black process reached a nadir when Trump ally Roger Stone alleged that enemies from within have launched a “deep state” smear campaign and that “the worst attacks are yet to come”. “They’re going to say that Donald Trump has Alzheimer’s,” said Stone. He warned the president’s cabinet could trigger a never-used provision of the US constitution to stage a coup on the grounds that Trump is mentally unsound. How delighted those plotters must be that their president does so much, is so very helpful in validating their ambitions.
The appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller to investigate possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign may temper Trump or his supporters but that seems a forlorn, almost dangerous hope.
It is tempting to imagine this slide towards darkness as irrelevant to Ireland but that is not possible. One-in-five private sector workers work directly or indirectly for foreign multinationals. Our economy is underpinned by the taxes these corporations pay. The wellbeing of America, and the stability of the dollar, are essential to Ireland’s wellbeing. Trump’s excesses threaten us all, especially those who imagined he might make America great again, but he cannot be impeached unless Congress moves against him, making next year’s mid-term elections extremely important.
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