Presidential Historian Calls Trump’s Presidency A ‘Near-Death Experience’ For American Democracy

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss said on Tuesday night that even though Joe Biden will be sworn in as president tomorrow, the American people shouldn’t forget about the “near-death experience” that Donald Trump just put the country though.

Beschloss said that Biden is right to focus his inauguration on “unity and reconciliation,” but that it’s also important to remember just how close Trump came to toppling U.S. democracy.

“We have been through four years of a daily, hourly assault on our democracy, a president who hates democracy, has a lust for power, and topped it all off on the 6th of January by trying to take down our Congress, overturn a free presidential election, and take down our democracy,” Beschloss said.

“That was a near-death experience,” he added.

Video:

Beschloss said:

I think it will be more meaningful because it takes account of the moment. If we tried to imitate a normal inauguration with a big crowd, pretending that there was not a pandemic, or if we tried to take chances with security of pretending that there was not a domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol and the Congress on the 6th of January, that would be counterfeit. So if we’re going to have a ceremony of unity and reconciliation, which I am sure tomorrow will be, you have to have one that’s a little bit in tune with the moment. We Americans, just as our friend Valerie was just saying, we have been through four years of a daily, hourly assault on our democracy, a president who hates democracy, has a lust for power, and topped it all off on the 6th of January by trying to take down our Congress, overturn a free presidential election, and take down our democracy. That was a near-death experience. We can’t just pretend that this is just a day like any other.

‘To heal we must remember’

On Tuesday night in Washington D.C., Joe Biden told the country

that remembering is part of the healing process.

“It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal,” he said. “It’s important to do that as a nation.”

Biden was speaking in the context of the pandemic, but his words also apply to the last four years more broadly.

In order for the country to heal after four traumatic years of Donald Trump, it’s important that we recognize just how close American democracy came to crumbling.

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Sean Colarossi

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