President Biden faces complex problems as Trump nightmare ends
Ambassador Curtis A. Ward
(20 January 2021) — The most disgraceful and disastrous period in modern American history ended with Donald Trump’s presidency at noon on January 20, 2021. The nightmarish Trump administration leaves a colossal mess of complex domestic and foreign policy issues for President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and his Vice President Kamala Harris. Hundreds of millions of Americans and peoples of all nations breathed a collective sigh of relief at the end of the most sordid period of American history since the end of racial segregation. The damages to American democracy and institutions, and the disregard for norms and civility over the four years of Trump’s presidency are severe. A resolute President-elect Biden pledged to restore the soul of America but he faces an unenviable, tremendously difficult task to deliver on the hopes, expectations and aspirations of those who yearn relief from Trump’s calamitous presidency.
President Biden pledged to take significant actions from day one of his presidency to begin reversal of Trump’s damages. With his unquestioned resolute will to act on his promises, he is equipped with the vast experiences he accumulated over 44 years of service in government – as US Senator (1973-2009) and as Vice President to former President Barack Obama (2009-2017). President Biden will be supported by Vice President Harris, a well-accomplished professional who served as Attorney General of the most populous state in the US and as a US Senator. She has created history in many ways – she is the first woman, first black woman, first Asian-American, and first Jamaican/Caribbean-American to serve as Vice President of the United States of America. President Biden’s Administration, comprised of highly experienced, competent professionals who bring high level expertise in the respective areas they are asked to serve, will be up to the task. Yet, recovering from the Trump nightmare will not be easy and will take years to be accomplished.
President Biden will waste very little time to begin restoration of America’s credibility globally, deal with a plethora of critically urgent domestic issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the suffering of hundreds of millions of Americans – people and small businesses – from an economy which collapsed from Trump’s gross mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. While President Biden will use Presidential Executive Orders (EOs) to correct some of Trump’s disastrous actions, he will need the cooperation of both chambers of the US Congress to undue most of the damages, provide relief to the American people, and to build back better the US economy for current and future generations of Americans. While President Biden has the support of the marginal democratic control of the House and Senate, he will need Republican members to support some of the legislative initiatives he must pursue in both the short-term and long-term. Gaining Republican support will be difficult, but not insurmountable. His years as a legislator should serve him well in building the support he will need.
Reversal of the domestic and international damages wrought by Trump and his incompetent administration, including enablers in the Congress and the private sector of Trump’s dangerous policies and actions, are atop President Biden’s agenda.
Frightening domestic issues
The COVID-19 pandemic, at the time of President Biden’s inauguration had taken over 400,000 American lives and infected more than 12 million Americans. Hospitals across the US are overwhelmed, running out of space to treat the nearly 124, 000 hospitalized. President Biden’s Administration inherited a mess of a vaccination program which has been incompetently handled by the Trump administration.
The US economy in recession with millions of unemployed and underemployed; tens of thousands of shuttered small businesses – some of which never to reopen; a deteriorating infrastructure; a looming housing crisis; health care and health delivery services which discriminate against people of color and the poor, will require trillions of dollars to fix. President Biden, with the best of intentions and political will, needs the US Congress to fix these problems.
The Trump insurrection – domestic terrorism – which temporarily occupied the US Capitol building, the seat of the US Congress, on January 6, 2021, represents a cancer of white violent extremism – terrorism; white nationalists who promote conspiracy theories and, seek to create a whites only America, in the image of Islamic terrorists who seek to establish caliphates which impose extreme religious ideology on people under their oppressive control. American democracy has been brought to the edge of a disastrous precipice by Trump and his enablers in the Republican Party, including leading members of the US Congress, and the rapaciousness of certain members of the business community who supported Trump and his enablers. Fed by Trump’s racist, xenophobic, and autocratic leadership, and the lies which came to define him and his presidency, white violent extremism has taken deep roots in America which will take great efforts over a long period of time to uproot and exterminate.
Biden’s first steps
By the time this article is published, President Biden will have taken the first steps to undo the damages of Trump’s nightmarish presidency. He will have taken the first steps to return confidence in American global leadership, and he will have used a series of EOs to begin the domestic changes he has promised. He will have submitted to the US Congress legislation on some of the big ticket items.
Biden’s team, from day one of his presidency, will begin taking comprehensive action to control the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure that millions of Americans are vaccinated in a short period of time – 100 million in the first 100 days. Biden will send legislation to the Congress to provide trillions of dollars of desperately needed relief to ameliorate the suffering of the American people. This will require sustained efforts to persuade enough Republican lawmakers in the Senate to get this package through the Congress.
President Biden will return the US to membership in the World Health Organization (WHO), the first step to providing desperately needed financial support for the organization, especially in its efforts to help poor countries deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and provide them with access to the vaccines. It will be a significant contribution to the WHO’s capacity to provide expert assistance to countries around the world burdened by the pandemic.
President Biden will have taken the first step to return the US to participation in the Paris Agreement which is a legally binding accord on Climate Change action. America’s expertise and leadership on Climate Change is of extreme importance in making progress in dealing with this existential threat to the global community, including to small island states as in the Caribbean.
President Biden will tackle the xenophobic discriminatory and bigoted policies of the Trump administration by ending the Moslem ban imposed early in Trump’s presidency. President Biden will have submitted comprehensive immigration reform legislation to grant a path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US; protect the Dreamers and provide them with a path to citizenship; and by EO begin the process of uniting the 600+ immigrant children cruelly separated from their parents.
President Biden and Vice President Harris, Cabinet Secretaries, and every department and agency of the Biden Administration will begin the process of healing America, and restoring trust in America’s democratic institutions and processes. The Biden Administration will face the challenge of white violent extremism and he will have millions of Americans, democrats, republicans, and independents in his corner. Failure is not an option; the stakes are too high for America and the international community.
© 2021 Curtis A. Ward/The Ward Post
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