Trump leaves White House with tainted legacy

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Outgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

Washington: Donald Trump, known for his unpredictable leadership style, divisive rhetoric targeting both allies and opponents, and the only US president to be impeached twice, left the White House on Wednesday with a tainted legacy never seen before in American political history.

The 74-year-old real estate mogul-turned politician, who radically changed politics in the corridors of power in Washington DC over the past four tumultuous years, was impeached for a second time on the charges of “incitement of insurrection” for the violent storming of the US Capitol by his supporters just days before the end of his four-year term.

Trump, who lost his re-election bid to Democratic opponent and former US vice president Joe Biden, 78, in a bitterly-fought campaign marked by a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, never conceded his defeat. Instead, he made unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in elections, charges dismissed by authorities and some senior members of his own Republican Party.

Trump, who is inseparable from controversies, was first impeached last year on charges that he abused power to boost his chances of re-election in 2020. He was subsequently acquitted by the Republican-dominated Senate in January last year.

He is the third US president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives and only president to be impeached twice.

Trump is also accused of mishandling a major public health crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 400,000 lives and battered the economy. He repeatedly downplayed the threat from the COVID-19 that infected him in October last, dealing a blow to his hectic election campaign just weeks before the presidential election on November 3.

Trump faces several allegations such as alienating the US at the international forum, ignoring pandemic threats, paying low income tax, supporting white supremacists and playing divisive politics among others.

His four-year term in the White House was dogged by a record number of resignations by top administration officials, controversies and strain in ties with allies.

Trump also made unprecedented outreach to North Korea, imposed controversial Muslim ban, worked on the Middle East peace process and landmark peace deal with the Taliban to end the 18-year-long Afghan war.

Trump, who is the only person to assume the US presidency without first having served in public office or in a high military rank, heavily relied on Twitter to deliver his messages to his supporters. However, his social media accounts were blocked after the deadly attack on the Capitol, leaving him with little alternatives such as friendly news networks to get his message out at the time of leaving the White House.

Trump did not attend the oath ceremony of Biden, becoming the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869. Trump left the White House without welcoming his successor.