Charles Kupchan: January 6 was one of the darkest days for American democracy

NEWS 14.01.2021 22:02

What happened on January 6 at Capitol Hill was “a logical culmination to four years of the Trump presidency” and led to “one of the darkest days for American democracy since the nation’s birth in 1789,” former member of the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, Charles Kupchan, told N1.

Kupchan called Trump “a very polarising figure” who “used falsehood and manipulation and social media to stir up a situation in which his supporters resorted to violence because they falsely believed that the Democrats had stolen the election and that Trump had won.”

“There is no evidence to support trump’s claim, but his base relies on a set of information that comes that comes from Trump and is retweeted, put out by the right-wing media, and that led to a situation in which you had a large number of his supporters descend on Washington,” he said.

Trump also gave a speech that “effectively encouraged his supporters to march to Capitol Hill” which resulted in a breach of security, he said, adding that “it still remains to be seen why the Capitol police did not have more people there, why the National Guard wasn’t there.”

Kupchan said that the Trump era is definitely coming to an end and that in his view, “it could not come soon enough.”

“I can’t really think of an American president who rivals Trump, simply on the basis of an individual who has lacked the basic qualities needed to run a country,” he said.

However, Kupchan stressed that Trump’s skills as a politician “need to be taken seriously.”

“I think that for many Americans the level and scope and reach of American foreign policy had become too much. For many Americans there was too much world and not enough America. Too many wars in the middle east. Too much free trade. Too many immigrants. Too many international commitments,” he said.

“And so Donald Trump was elected in part because he said ‘I hear you, and I am going to focus on America first and spend less time and money and lives on other countries,” he explained.

But according to Kupchan, when it came to implementing this narrative, Trump “took a wrecking ball to the world that America made.”

“Not only did he tarnish democracy an stand by the likes of Vladimir Putin and Mr. Al-Sisi and other autocrats rather than democratic allies, he was a unilateralist,” he said.

More on the reasons behind Trump’s rise to power and the long-term effects of his presidency, according to Kupchan, can be seen in the full interview above.


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