Now that we are beginning to come out of one of the darkest chapters in modern U.S. history and can glimpse the long-awaited return to normalities—which has to be pluralized given the many misrepresentations of power and its exercise made by the government of Donald Trump and his family—it is essential not to lose sight of the final blows of this political anomaly that even learned how to deceive what seemed to be the most exemplary democracy on the planet.
Without fully accepting that he has lost, and especially acting like a victim that he is not, this president, who does not want to wake up from his autocratic lethargy has already received blow after blow, even before November 3, when the serious polls never favored him. But it’s as if the results had not shown his shameful defeat and there was not a president-elect to be made official on December 14, due to the irrefutable votes received. Instead, this leader dedicates himself to doing what he knows best: lying without scruples, resorting to his typical, underhanded tricks.
His apparent self-sufficiency, however, continues to deteriorate by leaps and bounds, when the states he insists are “his” but for alleged “electoral fraud” refute his unproven accusations. Even Republican governors have not been influenced by the official rhetorical strategy, nor the intimidation of the President’s legal team, headed by an equally rude character, Rudolph Giuliani.
Two things, however, powerfully demand attention, of all the clutching of straws he has done in this, his disappearing kingdom: first, the possibility of pardoning himself and extending the same benefit to his three children—Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka—his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his lawyer Giuliani; and second, the ever more latent threat that if his whim to stay another four years in the White House is not realized, he will run again for the presidency in 2024.
And this is where the topic of immigration becomes the inflection point and the contrast to this chapter of U.S. history. The elder Trump calls immigrants, starting with Mexicans, criminals, rapists, and drug dealers. He did not say all are, but that is what he wanted to say, an expert psychoanalyst would say. Moreover, he made undocumented immigrants the scapegoat of “all the evils” in this country, for whom he decreed the cruelest public policies with the intent of inflicting the most damage possible to whoever dares set foot on U.S. soil in search of refuge, as if that were a crime. Separating families and caging children came later, crimes against humanity for which Trump must pay at some point.
But the migration reality that he has always refused to see, supporting the xenophobic vision of his principal advisor on this matter, Stephen Miller, is a completely different phenomenon from his poor and limited interpretation of his very own society today. The undeniable contributions of immigrants, with or without documents, contrast tremendously with real degeneracies carried out by him and his allies, from his non-payment of taxes—something he celebrated among his associates as an act of “intelligence” for having cheated the Internal Revenue Service—to his immoralities that curiously do not scandalize the ultra-religious right that has given him their blind support, such as paying to silence porn stars he had contact with. In referring to his children and his son-in-law, as well as his lawyer, it’s even laughable that he would want to pardon them preventively, even when there are no formal accusations against them, so that they become exonerated from any criminal act in which they may have been implicated. A presidential pardon, according to the experts, is given only in relation to federal crimes, not state or other types.
The Trump administration, of course, never called a truce with immigrants. He has been able to pardon, among others, his friend Roger Stone, who lied to Congress and was accused of obstruction and manipulation of witnesses in the so-called “Russia probe,” and his former National Security advisor Michael Flynn, accused of lying to federal agents regarding his relationship with the Russian ambassador to the United States. But in referring to immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, his idea is and has been to punish them for the simple fact of being immigrants, no matter that they pay taxes and some 5 million of them are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, as essential workers.
On the other hand, the most recent and disgusting act of barbarity from this government toward aspiring citizens is the new version of the citizenship exam, to which they added 28 questions to what used to be only 100. Previously, out of the 10 questions selected for an applicant to answer from these 100, he or she would have had to answer 6 correctly; now, 20 are chosen out of the total 128, and the respondent has to get 12 right. But there is no doubt that despite the fact that the difficulty level of the exam was increased, immigrants will study conscientiously and demonstrate once again that they are prepared to overcome any obstacle, as they have done all throughout this country’s history. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.
In what is referred to as his threat to once again seek the presidency in 2024, it has to be clear from this point on that his pretense is just an easy way out of the avalanche of failures that have unbalanced him before and after the election, and that it is nothing more than a scheme to maintain some support among his followers, those segments of the population that were animated by his incendiary and racist rhetoric, making us remember and suffer this other face of a divided United States: segregationist, racist, violent, and cruel.
Because if one thing has remained in evidence in this long night of four years it’s that our values and institutions have been trampled on, and our society, but especially immigrants has been vilified and psychologically tortured so devilishly that it simply shows who the real “bad hombre” was this whole time.
Of course, Trump could pardon his preferred criminals and himself. But all of the damage that he inflicted will neither be forgiven nor forgotten. Essentially, Trump could extend himself a pardon, and his followers could lap it up. But history will never pardon this president.
To read the Spanish version of this article click here.