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A second coming of Donald Trump is still a dark possibility

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White House senior aide Cassidy Hutchinson and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany watch as Donald Trump speaks to journalists on Air Force One on September 17, 2020. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

White House senior aide Cassidy Hutchinson and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany watch as Donald Trump speaks to journalists on Air Force One on September 17, 2020. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

White House senior aide Cassidy Hutchinson and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany watch as Donald Trump speaks to journalists on Air Force One on September 17, 2020. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Like a turbo-charged Taser gun, Donald Trump just goes on shocking. The question is: have Americans become so numbed by the high-voltage jolts that they no longer react?

But ‘the nothing to see here’, deadpan response from Republicans is a lot less convincing today, thanks to the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson.

Her indelible account of a furious Mr Trump cursing at his own security team – even manhandling them when they refused to drive him into the heart of the Capitol riots – was a devastating depiction of a dangerously unhinged commander-in-chief.

The then US president clearly wanted an armed crowd to march on the Capitol.

Any effort to encourage an armed mob to storm the Capitol could become pivotal in the decision on whether to charge him.

Another vital piece of the jigsaw has been put in place. It builds a picture that appears to show Mr Trump was prepared to go to any lengths to subvert the transfer of US presidential power.

Ms Hutchinson, as principal assistant to Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff at the time, had a worm’s-eye view of all that unfolded in the Oval Office.

It says much about the young woman that she has faced down genuine security threats, even as her boss was “pleading the Fifth”.

Such an alarming account of meltdown in the cockpit of the most powerful country in the world should be enough to demolish any further chances of a second coming for Mr Trump.

But so polarised has American politics become, and so strong is the chokehold that Mr Trump still has over his party, that it is too soon to write him off.

Ms Hutchinson told how the chief of staff had actually dictated a statement demanding that the mob leave the Capitol. It never went out.

She also revealed that Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka pleaded with her father to condemn the violence. Once again, nothing happened.

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When told by his security detail that the mob was armed, the then president responded by saying they were no danger to him.

Given that people died that day at the hands of the frenzied mob, Mr Trump’s disdain for the safety of those charged with his protection – and for that of the public at large – demonstrates appallingly that there were truly no depths to which the former president would not sink, to enforce his way.

Should he remain a viable contender for the 2024 Republican ticket after all this, the standing of law and order and respect for democracy in the US could be dangerously debased.

The 2022 midterm elections in America offer an opportunity to put safeguards in place to prevent another coup attempt. Republicans have a key role to play in this regard. Too many are still prepared to support the lie that the election was stolen.

Should they still be happy to stand by their man and dismiss this most damning evidence, they risk not just undermining democracy – but endorsing the darkest of descents by high office in American history.


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