Trump’s Out of Office. Let’s Look Back

Here’s a hint: The bad certainly outnumbered the good

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Cedrik von Briel

Former President Donald J. Trump smiles a stupid grin during one of his many dumb 2017 speeches early on in his presidency. Thinking of his time as one of the reality TV shows he likes so much, how did he do in the highest office of the land?

Cedrik von Briel, Politics Editor

This opinion was written before Inauguration Day 2021. If you have already moved on from this presidency two weeks afterward, please feel free to not read and check out some other, more relevant articles. The views expressed in this opinion are the views of the writer, exclusively.

Imagine the worst four year-period of your life. 

For many Wildcats – who are 18-years old at maximum – there aren’t many to choose from. However, for the vast majority, these four have to rank up there. There was a transition from middle to high school (which includes a change to a whole, new school), the massive stress of homework and teenage life, and the constant thoughts and worries of the future outside of school. 

Now imagine all that with a somewhat racist, egotistical, bigot in the White House leading our foreign policy, military, and every single American. That doesn’t help, now does it?

Ladies and gentleman: 2017-2021: the Donald Trump Presidency 

This four-year reality television show about a supposedly wealthy businessman and complete political outsider who ascends to the highest position this country can bestow was amazingly entertaining and (I’ll admit it) kind of fun to watch at times, but horrifyingly scary for most of it. 

Hear me out. A select few of the things this president said and did when not actively impacting people’s lives in legislation were comic gold. Complaining about and actually believing (and even caring for some reason) that Americans weren’t saying ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore? Stupidly mispronouncing the most basic words while also attacking now-president Joe Biden for doing so? Absurd, right? His storied and legendary Twitter account wasn’t much better, playing host to some equally entertaining, bonehead mistakes. Some well-known highlights include misspelling smoking gun (“smocking gun”) twice within a single tweet, and the amazingly funny “covfefe” debacle early on in the tweeter’s term. These instances were so bizarre and unexpected that one had to shake their head and laugh.

In addition to communicating, however, presidents also have to sign legislation and conduct various bettering-of-the-nation projects during their time in office. The main character of this White House-backdropped spectacle certainly didn’t shy away from that either. 

During his time in office, President Trump pardoned around 190 people, including some very deserving individuals (most notable of which being posthumous pardons of former pro boxer Jack Johnson – who was convicted in 1913 due to baseless and racially-motivated charges – and Susan B. Anthony on her 1873 conviction for being a woman voter). He also (for once) played commander-in-chief as members of the US armed forces destroyed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) caliphate and killed their leader, Abu Bakr al-Bagdahdi, soon after. He finally passed many bi-partisan landmark actions such as the Great American Outdoors Act this past year, The First Step Act in 2018, and signing the United States Space Force into existence on December 20, 2019 – the first new military branch since the Air Force just after World War II.

An American flag waves at the United States Capitol way back in 2019. For many at Woodside, seeing Donald J. Trump leave office was a welcome end to a tough four years (Cedrik von Briel)

The shocking acts, however, outnumbered the good ones.

The President continuously tried to strip citizenship and benefits from millions of hard-working Americans through a threatened ending of DACA and various other attacks on (mostly) non-white immigrants to this country. This included a downright Muslim ban for anyone from a few Muslim-majority countries to prevent them from entering the country – which was luckily later struck down in court early on in Trump’s presidency. He also pushed through a border wall on our southern dividing line that will probably not solve anything other than a cool, new boost to the national debt and curbed acreage and protections on numerous public lands, including Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bears Ears National Monument, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument – all to improve either drilling or fishing prospects for companies. 

His other actions, however, are at least a little bit more entertaining – that is, until the reality and horror sinks in. 

Firing someone over a tweet (multiple times!) is comical at first, but then it hits you about how crushing that must be for the person fired, no matter their affiliations. Getting impeached twice seems hilarious, but then it makes you wonder why anyone would ever elect a potential criminal to be the most powerful person in America. Watching a president-ordered mass of flag-waving vigilantes storm a location you were at for a journalism convention a couple of years ago seems absurd when watched live on tv, but also horrifyingly wrong once it is thought over and reflected on for a few minutes after the glowing screen is turned off. 

My favorite episode of the presidency, however, is that after directly causing the COVID-19 spread in the country, downplaying it for months as thousands died, the president of these United States got it himself one fine night, needing to be hospitalized soon after. The unfortunate part is, of course, that it did nothing to change his stance on the issue, and thousands still die to this day. Their blood lies solely on the president’s hands. 

The TV president had his TV moments, but like Warren Harding, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan before him, his presidency overall will have to go down as a failure. 

Americans were right to cancel this show after one season. Never let something like that happen again. 

Here’s to a much better four years.