Whether one is a Donald Trump supporter or not, it’s impossible to deny this has been one of the best weeks for the Trump presidency. With record-high approval ratings and a primetime address to showcase the administration’s accomplishments, Trump emerged exonerated from the Senate impeachment trial on Wednesday, ending a three-year effort to remove the president for the crime of winning the 2016 election while Democrats remain in chaos.
The Iowa Circus
To start, the Democratic Party was thrown into disarray Monday after the Iowa caucuses experienced technical shortcomings that resulted in no clear winner for, at this writing, four days. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has called for a recanvassing of the results questioning their legitimacy.
“Enough is enough,” Perez tweeted Thursday afternoon while the president was giving a victory lap speech in the White House on impeachment. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediate begin a recanvass.”
A recanvass, Perez explained, “is a review of the worksheets from each caucus site to ensure accuracy.”
On Monday night, the vote-reporting app used in Iowa crashed as party caucus organizers were reporting the results from their precincts. A closer look at the circumstances surrounding the app illustrates Democrats’ recklessness in conducting their caucuses.
According to The New York Times, the app had been engineered in the state just in the two months leading up to caucus day and had yet to be tested statewide. The app had also not gone through vetting by the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency and was sent to volunteers without any training.
While there is no evidence to suggest hackers corrupted the app on Monday night, ProPublica discovered that the software lacked “key safeguards” to protect the integrity of the election and could have been compromised by a highly-trained hacker.
The damage has been done. The winning candidates lost their only opportunity to flex the strength of their campaigns with a strong showing in Iowa, where the first-place finisher would have enjoyed the publicity and fundraising that comes with having his or her name and face plastered across every major newspaper in the country in addition to an appearance on every morning show.
By Tuesday afternoon, still no results had been released, and the news cycle quickly moved on to the president’s state of the union that night. The next day came Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, and on Thursday, Trump’s victory lap at the National Prayer Breakfast and an address from the East Room of the White House. Now the focus goes to New Hampshire, which is scheduled to hold its primary on Tuesday.
The situation in Iowa will no doubt raise skepticism among voters over whether Democrats can properly manage the massive government programs they are proposing on which Americans would become critically dependent, such as government-run health care. Remember the $840 million-dollar rollout of Healthcare.gov under Obamacare?
President Trump has already seized on this line of attack, comparing the “disaster” caucus to the botched rollout of the federal government’s health care website in 2014.
“The Democratic caucus is an unmitigated disaster,” Trump said. “Nothing works, just like they ran the Country. Remember the 5 Billion Dollar Obamacare Website, that should have cost 2% of that. The only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is ‘Trump’.”
The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country. Remember the 5 Billion Dollar Obamacare Website, that should have cost 2% of that. The only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is “Trump”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2020
A Unifying State of the Union
While Democrats still had no caucus winner in Iowa, Trump gave his annual primetime address to Congress on the eve of the Senate impeachment vote where his acquittal was certain.
On Tuesday morning, Gallup released new polling data to show Trump with the highest approval rating of his presidency, with 49 percent of Americans approving of the way Trump is handling his job. In contrast, former President Barack Obama had an approval rating of 46 percent at the same point in his presidency in 2012.
Trump’s address was a unifying speech that served as a precursor to his victory lap on impeachment. He highlighted a booming economy and showcased American patriotism through telling the stories of extraordinary citizens. Trump honored one of the last surviving Tuskegee airmen at 100 years old attending with his great-grandson, who aspires to be in the new Space Force. Trump reunited a military family in a surprise gesture for the soldier’s wife and two kids in the House gallery. Trump also celebrated the life of a premature baby born at 21 weeks and six days, making for one of the youngest premature babies ever to survive in the United States.
The president also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to legendary conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who had just revealed a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer just one day prior.
Trump steered away from digging into the divisive politics and applauded bipartisan work on criminal justice reform and the passage of the landmark United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to replace NAFTA. The epic, celebratory address centered on bipartisanship and American heroism appeared to sour Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who petulantly tore up her copy of the speech at the conclusion of Trump’s remarks.
— SalenaZito (@SalenaZito) February 5, 2020
The White House used the opportunity to highlight how emotionally charged Trump’s annual address was and released a statement on Pelosi’s contemptuous, child-like conduct.
Speaker Pelosi just ripped up:
One of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
The survival of a child born at 21 weeks.
The mourning families of Rocky Jones and Kayla Mueller.
A service member's reunion with his family.
That's her legacy.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 5, 2020
After Democrats failed to emerge from Iowa with a clean caucus, and after they failed to fix it, and after Trump delivered a riveting state of the union address, and after Pelosi made a fool of herself in front of millions of Americans, Trump was finally exonerated of wrongdoing as the partisan impeachment proceedings levied against him with acquittal.
The effort to impeach Trump had been a constant three-year mission to delegitimize the Trump presidency for the crime of winning the 2016 election. It finally came to an end just ten months before Americans head to the polls again to decide whether the president will get a second term. Just minutes after Trump took the oath of office, the Washington Post declared in a headline that “The Campaign To Impeach President Trump Has Begun.”
Democrats claimed Trump should be impeached for implementing a travel ban. They claimed Trump should be impeached over alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause. They claimed Trump should be impeached for firing former FBI Director James Comey. And famously, they claimed Trump should be impeached for allegedly serving as a Russian asset colluding with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Even a two-year special counsel investigation with unlimited resources spearheaded by a congressionally appointed special counsel supported by wall-to-wall media coverage determined not one person on the Trump campaign, let alone Trump himself, was a Russian agent. Democrats still claimed Trump should be impeached.
Then came Ukraine, where reports of a whistleblower complaint surfaced in the media, charging Trump with conspiring with the Ukrainian president to interfere in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The complaint based on a July 25 phone call between the two world leaders was marked “credible” and “urgent” by the intelligence community inspector general but not by the Department of National Intelligence, yet Democrats with the help of a complicit media seized on the complaint to resurrect the top item on their policy agenda: impeachment.
Despite the White House releasing the full transcript of the phone call in full public view, Democrats charged the president with colluding with the Ukrainian government anyway and rushed to an impeachment vote by Christmas, making the weakest case for impeachment in American history. Just more than a month later, Trump emerged triumphant in the proceedings. Democrats now face a long, divisive primary where they may just might end up nominating a self-described socialist.