Joe Biden deserved better. Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in Washington DC, barely 10 days ahead of his successor’s scheduled inaugural. A rather dismal chapter has thus been added to the presidential narrative.
Tuesday’s declaration by the outgoing President comes after riots erupted at the US Capitol where pro- Trump supporters wreaked havoc on January 6. At least five people died as a result of the mayhem, and they included a Capitol police officer.
It was altogether an insult to the country’s libertarian tradition. The riots had coincided with the polls in Georgia, where Trump’s party was trounced. It wil be difficult for the world to accept that the emergency in the capital of the fountain-head of democracy is a desperate measure to restore a semblance of law and order.
This in itself is suggestive of the extent to which the country has slid over the past four years. Both the rule of law and a non-controversial administration have been in short supply and the President, now going through the wrap-up motions, needs to ask himself why this has happened. Not the least because Mr Trump had precipitated the Capitol Hill violence by instigating those who supported his flawed presidency, one that was rendered impotent by electoral losses, first in November and then in January.
The impending change of guard at the Oval Office appears to have so derailed Mr Trump that his supporters but mostly he ended up disgracing the country. It is cause for alarm that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned armed protests are being planned in all 50 US state capitals and the national capital in the final days leading up to Mr Biden’s inauguration.
“President Donald J Trump declared that an emergency exists in the District of Columbia and ordered federal assistance to supplement the District’s response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the Presidential inauguration from January 11 to January 24, 2021,” a White House release stated.
Some experts have argued that those trying to remove President Trump from office ~ and their number is legion across the nation ~ may be using the wrong approach. Certainly, the threats of violence appear to target the impeachment proceedings underway in Washington.
In the event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been authorised to identify, mobilise, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impact of the emergency. “Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 100 per cent Federal funding,” the White House has informed the nation. America is in crisis and on 20 January, Mr Biden and the Democrats will succeed to a massively depleted inheritance. Such accidents as Mr Trump shape history as much as profound thought and action.