The Malta Independent 21 January 2021, Thursday

Trump’s last trump

Noel Grima Sunday, 10 January 2021, 08:02 Last update: about 11 days ago

Two images come to my mind with regards to Wednesday’s attack on the US capital, one foreign and one local.

The first is Chilean president Salvador Allende, helmeted and grasping a rifle, trying to defend against the attacks on his palace, just before he was killed in 1973.

The second is Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici on a truck leading a dockyard crowd towards Valletta before they left him and went on to devastate the Archbishop’s Curia in 1984.

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There can be no doubt that Donald Trump was 100% behind the attack on the US Capitol where the senators and the representatives were checking the electoral votes that later assigned the presidency to Joe Biden.

He invited people to join the march, castigated those who failed to obey his orders to put a brake on the proceedings and went so far as to address the crowd just across from the White House.

Then he retreated to the Oval Office while outside the crowd, some armed, some with Confederate flags, some with outlandish attire broke down the skeleton staff and was free to roam around the Senate and some offices.

The senators and the congressmen meanwhile huddled together in barricaded offices and were not attacked.

Then the blame game began. Comparisons were drawn with the massive police presence in Spring with the Black Lives Matter protests and this token resistance now.

The US Secret Service said it had no Inkling anything was being planned when all the world knew what was coming.

Professor Peter Mayo has written a riveting analysis of this re-enactment of the Fascist ‘Marcia su Roma’ on his Facebook page.

The problem is not just Trump but an entire network of the Right which is now becoming more and more organized and interconnected, in power in the US, in Hungary and Poland, within sight of power in France and Italy.

Until he was banned from Facebook and Instagram for spreading fake news, and from many US networks, Trump succeeded in persuading many that fake news was what his opponents were saying about him. Whereas it is now clear he was the originator of fake news by the ton.

In fact, he was believed by all those millions who voted for him even if they had the past four years to see everyday examples of manipulation through his fake news.

On the same day of the attack on the Capitol, the US was seeing the highest number of deaths from Covid. Amid Trump’s most blame-worthy misdeeds was the cruel, amateurish handling of the pandemic. Millions of Americans went to their graves before their time.

What has amazed me was the number of otherwise well-informed persons who until the very end or nearly so, supported Trump and came up with all sorts of lame excuses in his defence. This happened in the US and it happened here as well.

If there were groups who with more reason could say they were being discriminated against in the US, they were the black community, the Latinos, the gays etc. Maybe, to give Trump his due, there is also a big white proletarian segment which was attracted by Trump’s Make America Great chimera.

The US economy under Trump was doing well, especially the rich and the corporate sector. But the middle class and the  others live life precariously and are thus more at risk of Covid.

The US, which portrays itself as the land of the free and which exports instability around the world, has now found out how fragile its democracy is. If this now leads to a salutary self-examination, maybe the world can salvage something from the event of this week.

To get back to the first paragraphs of this article, at the point of writing it is still not certain if Trump will be removed or otherwise incriminated for his share in Wednesday’s insurgency.

What I know, however, is that no steps have ever been taken against KMB for his share in the attack on the Curia by those who he called “the aristocracy of the workers”. Nor, coming to think of it, for his share of responsibility for the Egyptair massacre.

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