WEATHER ALERT

Trump tries to ignite powder keg

There is a chilling scene in the blockbuster Batman movie The Dark Knight in which the caped crusader’s loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth, explains the nature of evil. “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/11/2020 (755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There is a chilling scene in the blockbuster Batman movie The Dark Knight in which the caped crusader’s loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth, explains the nature of evil. “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Those haunting words were meant to describe Batman’s arch-enemy, the Joker, but it is hard to hear them today without thinking of Donald Trump, the outgoing president of the United States who refuses to accept that he is the outgoing president of the United States.

Since it became clear that he’d lost to president-elect Joe Biden, Trump has shed any pretense of dignity and behaved like an abusive ex-husband — if he can’t have America, then no one can have America.

In becoming the first candidate in modern history to refuse to concede in the face of a clear-cut electoral college defeat, shunning a tradition that has marked peaceful transitions throughout American history, Mr. Trump has placed his own ego above the good of his country.

Mr. Trump’s baseless lawsuits and fantasies of vote-rigging not only pose a threat to the orderly transfer of power, but risk setting aflame the nation he has pledged to protect.

Instead of issuing a graceful, or begrudging, concession, the lame-duck president has hunkered down in the White House, spewing unfounded allegations of fraud and vowing to launch an all-out legal assault to remain in power, even as election officials nationwide from both parties state there has been no evidence to support a conspiracy theory.

Mr. Trump’s baseless lawsuits and fantasies of vote-rigging not only pose a threat to the orderly transfer of power, but risk setting aflame the nation he has pledged to protect.

Instead of playing nicely with the president-elect’s team, Mr. Trump has erected roadblocks at every turn. He has refused to grant Mr. Biden access to the nation’s most sensitive intelligence. The Biden transition team has been unable to move into federal government office space or tap funds to hire staff because a Trump appointee who heads the federal office charged with recognizing election results has not yet done so.

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. Deciding on the fly whether to air in real time U.S. President Donald Trump's baseless allegations of election fraud is a tricky dilemma that defies easy solutions, broadcast journalists and observers said on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Evan Vucci

Stalling the handover poses a legitimate national-security risk, raising fears U.S. adversaries can take advantage of the country during a transition of power more tumultuous than almost any in the country’s history.

His attempts to rile his base — more than 72 million people voted for him — raise an even more immediate threat. In the run-up to the vote, Trump supporters were accused of menacing poll workers who were attempting to do their jobs.

In Texas, the FBI is investigating after a caravan of his supporters in vehicles decorated with Trump signs and flags surrounded and followed a Biden campaign bus. Two men armed with handguns and driving a Hummer decorated with an American flag and a sticker for the pro-Trump, far-right conspiracy theory QAnon were arrested near a Philadelphia vote-counting location.

Stalling the handover poses a legitimate national-security risk, raising fears U.S. adversaries can take advantage of the country during a transition of power more tumultuous than almost any in the country’s history.

Claiming you’ve been robbed of a second term is a dangerous game, as Mr. Trump would know if he read the words of Richard Nixon, the only president forced to resign, chased out in 1974 amid the Watergate scandal.

“I can think of no worse example for nations abroad, who for the first time were trying to put free electoral procedures into effect, than that of the United States wrangling over the results of our presidential election and even suggesting that the presidency itself could be stolen by thievery at the ballot box,” Mr. Nixon wrote in his memoir.

The U.S. is a powder keg in the wake of a fractious election, and Mr. Trump, without a wise butler to guide him, is spending his time lighting matches.

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