How would Donald Trump fare in prison?
Trump's first term in office: scandals, excitement and affairs
Now he's gone too far! Many thought this again and again, given the numerous scandals that overshadowed Donald Trump's presidency. But regardless of whether campaign support from abroad, proximity to right-wing extremists or numerous allegations of sexual assault: Trump remained firmly in the saddle - and thus pushed the boundaries in political discourse. A selection of the most sensational scandals that other presidents would have brought down:
- No distance to right-wing extremists
In the 2016 election campaign, Trump received the support of the well-known neo-Nazi and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. In August 2017 "Unite the Right" demonstrations took place in Charlottesville, where the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacy supporters gathered, among others. One participant then drove his car into a group of counter-demonstrators and killed a woman. Instead of condemning the act and calling the racists and neo-Nazis by their names, Trump spoke of guilt "on both sides," which caused outrage even among Republicans.
Trump apparently did not learn anything from this today either: In a TV duel in September, he urged the "Proud Boys" to hold back on the one hand and stand by on the other. "Stand back and stand by," he said to the right-wing radical group, instead of distancing himself from white supremacy fanatics.
- The missing tax return
As the first president since Richard Nixon, Trump refuses to publish his tax return, which has brought him the accusation from the start of trying to hide something. With all legal means he fought against attempts by Congress and the New York judiciary to enforce insight, including the Supreme Court. He justifies his refusal with an ongoing tax audit.
Nevertheless, the New York Times recently got hold of some of the documents. According to these, Trump paid no federal income tax for eleven of the 18 years between 2000 and 2017 - and only $ 750 each in 2016 and 2017. Any state-level taxes, if any, are not included in the disclosures. In the best case, if the information is correct, he is there as a skilful tax evader, in the worst case there would also be illegal tricks. The New York State Attorney's Office is currently investigating suspected tax, banking and insurance fraud.
- Campaign assistance from Ukraine
"Too much is too much," was the reaction of many to the Ukraine affair. After all, Trump had asked the head of state of another country for election campaign help: In July 2019, he urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi to help him find a server belonging to the Democratic Party, which, according to a disproved conspiracy theory, should be in Ukraine. He also calls on Selenskyj to investigate Joe Biden's son Hunter. After the phone call, White House staff were asked to save the transcript of the conversation on a server that very few people have access to - rather than, as usual, in an area with broader access rights.
The Democrats accused Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of the judiciary - and initiated impeachment proceedings. The impeachment failed because the majority of Republican senators continued to support Trump.
- Hand grenade diplomacy and treason
The US President experienced one of the most embarrassing moments at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in 2018. In front of the camera, Trump contradicted the findings of his secret services that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election campaign and took Putin's side. He sees "no reason why it should be Russia" that sabotaged the US elections in 2016.
Trump later claimed he wanted to say "shouldn't be". The allegations ranged from ridicule and horror to accusations of treason.
Trump's efforts, staged at two summits in 2018 and 2019, to get the nuclear dispute with North Korea moving, were ultimately in vain. Rather, he had to put up with ridicule because he had apparently been impressed by flattering letters from Kim Jong-uns. He bragged to journalist Bob Woodward that Kim "told him everything" - even how he had his uncle killed.
- The president and the porn star
In addition to the now dozen women who accuse Trump of sexual assault, a hush-money affair that came to light in 2018 also highlights Trump's attitude towards women. His attorney at the time, Michael Cohen, reportedly paid $ 130,000 to porn actress Stephanie Gregory Clifford (stage name: Stormy Daniels) shortly before the 2016 election to keep her silent about a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
New York justice saw the payment as illegal campaign funding. This was one of the reasons why Cohen was convicted in 2018. At the end of February 2019, Cohen testified before several committees of the US Congress as part of the Russia investigation. Trump knew about the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and ordered it personally. The US President denies that to this day.
- Zigzag course in times of crisis
Usually, in times of crisis, heads of state and government experience a survey high, known as the rally-around-the-flag effect. Trump benefited little from the corona pandemic. After the first confirmed cases in January, he said he was not worried, everything was "under control". Two months later, he "always" knew that it was a "real pandemic". Excerpts from a September book by investigative journalist Bob Woodward showed that Trump deliberately left US citizens in the dark about the dangers of the pandemic.
And not only that: The US President even made unnecessary, sometimes dangerous proposals. In May he announced that he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a precaution - a drug that was later found to be ineffective in preventing corona. And he indicated that injected disinfectant might help.
For a long time Trump did not want to know anything about masks or exit restrictions - and even called for protests in some states that had imposed strict lockdowns. Supporters of Trump, some of them armed, went to the parliament in Michigan's capital, including banners reading "Tyrants are getting the rope". In early October it became known that right-wing extremists had planned to kidnap Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer and try her on "high treason".
Now the corona numbers in the USA are rising again rapidly, including those of the hospitalized and the dead. The Trump administration is still keeping the exact capacity figures under lock and key. (Manuela Honsig-Erlenburg, Noura Maan, November 2nd, 2020)
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