A Key Legacy of the Trump Administration
Many critics of former President Trump, myself included, noted that Trump’s rhetoric in office was a boon to authoritarian regimes globally. His denigration of American democracy, both directly and indirectly, provided authoritarian states the ability to point to US democracy as a sham. Indeed, one of the ways in which a Trump administration was of use to Vladimir Putin was that it allowed him to further justify his own way of governing. If the President of the great and self-righteous United States of America didn’t trust elections and called the free press the “enemy of the people” then it helped justify the notion that Russia’s “democracy” was just as good as Uncle Sam’s.
It should be noted that those concerns started back during the 2016 campaign and hit full crescendo with Trump’s utter denigration of American democracy during the 2020 campaign. His instigation and support of the January 6th insurrectionists was a major lesson in anti-democracy. We should never forget that he was silent for two hours while the events took place and broke that silence by affirming that the election was stolen and telling the insurrectionists, “we love you.” This was all certainly seen and understood by autocrats the world over.
And in case anyone thinks this notion is just in the head of a pointy-headed academic who frets too much about the state of democracy in the United States, as well as globally, I give you Yang Jiechi, China’s Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office, making him the basic equivalent of the US Secretary of State:
“We believe that it’s important for the U.S. to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world. Many people within the U.S. actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.”Source: NPR’s Morning Edition, Talks Turn Testy As Top U.S. And China Officials Meet In Alaska For 2nd Day
I recognize that authoritarians gonna authoritarian (and they are going to note the failings of US democracy to make their own regimes look better). But the ability of a high-ranking official of the Chinese Communist Party to credibly say “Many people within the U.S. actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States” is directly the fault of Donald J. Trump. And I should add, many willing accomplices in the Republican Party and their allies in their preferred corners of the media.