A President to Remember for All the Wrong Reasons


Photo by Whitehouse.gov

Former President Donald Trump

Nick Kallipolites, Staff Writer

It is impossible to describe Donald Trump’s presidency in a single word. Delusional, propagandistic, petty and big brother all come to mind. With Joe Biden now residing in the oval office, it can be easy to forget all of the terrible things that Trump represented and simply move on. However, I think there are many lessons to be learned about how a reality TV star and fraudulent businessman ascended to the presidency, and how he behaved while in the office. Reviewing the truth, even if it’s shameful to reflect on, is important so that history is never repeated.

Prior to becoming president, Trump was a business figure with some successful transactions and developments. His most notable deals were in real estate, but he also attempted managing a casino, university, and even a sports team to little success. Additionally, he’s funded the construction of multiple golf courses in the U.S., and even owns one in Scotland. Although he was a celebrity during the 1980s and 1990s, what pushed him into the spotlight for this generation was his presentation of The Apprentice, a reality TV show that he starred in for fourteen seasons before making a presidential bid.

Along the campaign trail, many criticized him for being unprofessional, unfiltered, and unfit to hold such a solemn position in the U.S. government. However, those same personality traits resonated with a large sector of the American population that was tired of dealing with the establishment for decades. They wanted someone who would challenge the political norms and shake things up. Those people certainly got what they asked for and much, much, more, which definitely was not a good thing.

His platform was isolationism, white supremacy, a closed-border policy, and dismantling environmental regulations. It was harkening to a time where technology and diversity was not as prevalent, almost like a bout of nostalgia for  old, rich white people. A portion of the country has moved on from that era, but considering his lasting popularity and messages that resonate with millions of people, there is still a significant political divide in this country.

That ideology distanced America from allies and made us an international outlier and laughing stock. Trump even instigated the process of removing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, which was an important step forward in regulating the amount of harmful greenhouse gases emitted by the leading polluters of the world. In order to fulfill his promise of making the United States have practically closed borders, Trump promised to build a wall along the Mexican border to “keep those damn Mexicans out.” In reality, only 15 miles of new wall was constructed along the 2,000 mile long border, while 350 miles of existing barriers were replaced with a taller concrete structure.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States, Trump was constantly in the news cycle for an array of ridiculous things, whether it be another executive order, something he said on Twitter, a ban, or a government shutdown. It was nearly impossible to keep up with the inundating flow of news, which distorted my sense of time. Groundbreaking events that would define a year or even a decade happened monthly, making them feel less important than they actually were. Perhaps that was one of his devious tricks — overwhelm the media so much that it was difficult to keep track of all the terrible things he committed during his tenure.

And then the COVID pandemic happened. This country could have been prepared on a much broader scale than it was. However, Trump dismantled the pandemic response team a year earlier because it was draining funds from the federal government. Couple that with the American ideal of independence and resistance to authority and you have people selfishly ignoring lockdowns and partying like the world was ending. Trump knew how serious of a disease COVID-19 was, but publicly denied its existence and tried to dispel it with a fly swatter. Unfortunately for him, virus particles are small enough to fit through the netting of a swatter, so his strategy was ineffective. And now more than 500,000 Americans have died from the disease — more than double Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted last spring.

Ironically, Trump actually contracted the virus himself. He received world-class treatment with a new experimental drug, which helped him recover quickly. However, that exact treatment made him oblivious to what the general American has access to when it comes to proper medical care. He touted that it was easy to recover from and that a citizen is likely to survive the virus if they contract it. Key word: survive. Surviving does not mean restored to full health. Many people have lost a sense or had impaired lungs even though they survived COVID-19.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana’s wisdom persists into the 21st century decades after he died. The United States, in all its glory and representations of liberty, was built on stolen land using white supremacy as a bargaining chip to justify slavery. That is a common denominator of the voting population, and a frightening amount of people will support candidates who run on that platform. Although this piece has been opinionated enough already, I implore you to research into Trump so you can refresh yourself on everything that happened. It doesn’t have to be thorough, and you don’t have to crawl into the recesses of the internet. Use that information and construct a memory, a conscience, that you will stand up for. 

Although one man is not powerful enough to destroy the United States, he can certainly deal a lot of damage that can cause a domino effect of destruction if left unchecked. No president is ever perfect, and our current leader is not the lord and savior, but someday I hope to see a president and government that has a fiery passion to provide for its people.