Trump’s End Game

I have been in the United States since the Kennedy administration. Not that I followed the personal behavior or policies of Kennedy. I was then starting college and my English was elementary. But I was shocked and terrified by his brutal murder. I kept saying to myself this must have been a terrible accident. To this day, I don’t understand why that handsome and rich and visionary politician was gunned down like an escaped criminal.

President Jimmy Carter

My interest in other presidents became more serious, starting with Jimmy Carter when I joined the US EPA in 1979. Carter reviewed agriculture and, probably, he might have favored a sustainable version of family farming. He was amenable to change, like preparing the country to face global warming.

President Ronald Reagan

Roland Reagan heightened my concerns because his political appointees at EPA violated the law, offended decency, and harmed the health of Americans and damaged the integrity and health of the natural world.

Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, of whom I expected more forceful policies for environmental protection, disappointed me. They were polite servants of the business class.

President George W. Bush

George W. Bush thoroughly repulsed me. I could not stand his useless but deadly wars. His environmental policies continued his war delusions, this time against environmental health and the health of Americans.

President-tyrant Donald Trump 

But Donald Trump is different than all past presidents. The man reeks of bad intentions and purposes. He is a salesman for petroleum and meat. It was obvious to me since 2016 that this professional liar, egoist, narcissist, and tax cheat, would harm America immeasurably.

His contempt for the health of Americans and treatment of the natural world with a gun, sufficed to mark him in different category. He became a president by accident and only because the American political system is undemocratic. The man floated on the pollution of the Democrat and Republican parties.

What astonished me the most was the inability of the government to deal with a president exhibiting clear monarchical tendencies. He spent most of his time playing golf in Florida. Next he used his office to enrich himself and his family.

He negotiated “deals” with the likes of the Turkish Islamist tyrant, Erdogan, that became mayhem for the Kurds, America’s most loyal allies in the Middle East.

He appointed senior officials with little if any qualifications for the responsibilities of their offices.

For example, he assigned pollution industry lobbyists to administer the US Environmental Protection Agency responsible for protecting human and environmental health. These two fossil fuel lobbyists, Scott Pruitt, Feb. 2017-Jul. 2018, and Andrew Wheeler, became megaphones for Trump denying climate change.  Moreover, they have practically transformed EPA into a subsidiary of polluters and, in the process, eliminated minor legal protections between polluting industry and drinking water, food,  and wildlife.

Thanks to this Trump-inspired callousness, hunters in Alaska shoot mama and baby bears in their dens.

This unprecedented ferocity and violence have engulfed America. The country is divided as never before into skin color and wealth-poverty camps, all armed for confrontation.

The Republican-controlled Senate has approved hundreds of unqualified judges for the federal judiciary. The strategy is to secure their property protection, no matter the president. And in the same light, Trump has tried hard modeling the entire federal government after his plutocratic delusions.

The inevitable result of this narrow undemocratic mindset was Trump’s failure to lead the government in fighting the coronavirus plague killing hundreds of thousands of Americans.

And even more dangerous than his indifference to public health and welfare, is Trump’s effort to deny a smooth transfer of power at the White House. He has been saying he will not leave the White House, no matter the result of the elections.

Yet Americans elected Joe Biden. But Trump keeps his threats alive. He replaced the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, with a more loyal servant, Christopher Miller. He fired Chris Krebs, Homeland Security cyber chief because Krebs debunked Trump’s conspiracy theory of a fraudulent election stealing the presidency from him.

Trump ordered the General Services Administration not to acknowledge Biden as the next president, thus depriving Biden from a normal political transition to form his own administration.

Then news surfaced that Trump was planning an attack on Iran, perhaps destroying its major source of water or bombing its nuclear facilities.

Trump’s coup d’ etat

These political actions by Trump are very dangerous: undermining the health of Americans and the natural world, denying climate change, degrading the federal government and making it a potential tool of the rich and well-connected, attacking democracy by defaming the elections and refusing to recognize the winner of those elections, Joe Biden, as the president-elect.

The effect of these actions is a coup d’ etat –an overthrow of the government out in the open for all to see, but nobody daring to oppose it.

Trump has another two months to put the final touches to his coup d’ etat. Will he call the military to intervene? And if he did and the Pentagon did his bidding, will that spark a civil war?

But if, in the best of circumstances, the Republicans wake up and convince Trump to get out of the way, Biden’s agenda will have to include a major reform or a rewriting of the Constitution to eliminate the possibility of another Trump comeback or another person like Trump ever becoming president.

Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist, who worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of seven books, including the latest book, The Antikythera Mechanism.