With just over a fortnight remaining before Donald Trump leaves the White House for, with luck, the last time, fears that he will bring American civilisation crashing down with him seem to be tentatively receding, to be replaced with more abstract reflections on the 45th president’s place in history.
Was the Trump era just an aberration? Or has Trumpism changed western politics permanently? Will hindsight vindicate him? Or can the past four years be safely written off as a once-in-a-lifetime democratic nightmare?
You might expect the great narcissist to welcome being discussed in such terms, but the historical debate so far has not been flattering. The trouble is, people keep reaching for the C-word. You’ve probably heard it: Caligula, third emperor of Rome, whose disastrous four-year reign (37-41 CE) made him synonymous ever after with depravity, cruelty and mental instability in the highest office.
What could a mad emperor – who declared war on the sea, threatened to make his horse a consul, slaughtered people for fun, committed incest with his sister and demanded that his subjects worship him as a god – possibly have in common with the elected president of the world’s leading democratic superpower? Quite a lot, unfortunately.
Trump: U.S. Has seen ‘No Proof Yet’ of Navalny Poisoning
U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he had not yet seen proof that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had been poisoned as stated by Germany.
«I don’t know exactly what happened. I think it’s tragic, it’s terrible, it shouldn’t happen,» Trump said.
«We haven’t had any proof yet, but I will take a look at it,» Trump said in a press conference.»
Trump said he had heard that Germany had made a finding that Navalny, who fell ill on a Siberian flight last month, had been poisoned with the deadly Novichok nerve agent.
Since then Europe has threatened new sanctions and NATO called for an international investigation into the alleged attempted assassination.
Germany has briefed its NATO partners and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there was «proof beyond doubt» that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok.
«We have not seen it ourselves,» Trump said of the evidence from German investigators.
Based on what Germany is saying that seems to be the case, he added.
«I would be very angry if that’s the case,» he said.
Trump did not say what action he would take if convinced that President Vladimir Putin’s most potent political opponent had been the victim of a murder plot.
But he said he has been «tougher on Russia than anybody else by far.»
At the same time, Trump said, he considered ongoing nuclear arms negotiations with Moscow more important than any other issue.
«It’s the most important thing,» he said.