It is less than a week before US President Donald Trump finally leaves office, ending a bitter chapter in American history marked by deeper divisions, racial prejudice and resurrection of white supremacists. The biggest concern for Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20 is security after the failed insurrection last week.
The US is at a juncture few would have imagined as it faces a potential threat of violent attacks by its own citizens. The FBI has issued a warning of armed protests before Biden’s inauguration in Washington and has raised an alert in 50 state capitals. A state of emergency has been imposed in the federal capital and more than 15,000 troops are expected to be deployed to maintain law and order. Security will certainly take centre stage as preparations are being made for the quadrennial event. Due to the security threats and the coronavirus pandemic, the event will likely be a solemn affair with limited crowds and bulked up security.
Meanwhile, Trump is more isolated than ever as many of his supporters have distanced themselves and his primary megaphone Twitter, which he used to communicate with his supporters, has been cut off. Many lawmakers are not waiting for the end of his presidency and are taking the unprecedented step to impeach him for inciting his supporters to storm the US Capitol. Although a long shot, Trump would be the first president to be impeached twice and could lose his retirement benefits and be barred from running again for office.
The US President may be considered as one of the most powerful man in the world but he is not invincible. The US Constitution allows the removal of the president deemed unfit and posing a serious threat to the nation. But such a move at this stage when the situation is still far from under control poses an even greater risk of dividing the nation.
For much of the outside world particularly authoritarian regimes, the situation is all too familiar when a leader claims that elections are rigged as they were not in his favour. Trump has certainly ruled like an autocrat as his conservative voter base supported him and pretending to change the system. As the days near the end, Trump will be leaving a fractured, divided and polarized country which is on the brink of even descent into chaos.