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With the pandemic at a deadly peak, Americans learned that the president, still set on overturning the 2020 election results, went so far as to discuss martial law. His refusal to accept the outcome will leave a dangerous legacy.
Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump discussed further attempts to cling to power, including the possibility of imposing martial law, during a meeting with advisers.
Trump’s attempted coup will fail, one Atlantic writer argues, but it won’t be without consequence: His antidemocratic maneuvers set a dangerous precedent.
The president is losing his mind, Peter Wehner argues. “This is where Trump’s crippling psychological condition—his complete inability to face unpleasant facts, his toxic narcissism, and his utter lack of empathy—became lethal,” writes Wehner, who served in three Republican administrations.
And he’s moving once unthinkable acts into the realm of possible. “No, there won’t be a coup,” David Frum, a staff writer and a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, writes. “But we have on record the first ever formal U.S. Army repudiation of a coup. That’s bad enough.”
In the future, aspiring autocrats could capitalize on that. “Imagine the same playbook executed with better decorum, a president exerting pressure that is less crass and issuing tweets that are more polite,” Zeynep Tufekci argued earlier this month.
Was it worth it? Our White House correspondent Peter Nicholas asked John Kelly, John Bolton, and other ex–Trump staffers to reflect on their time spent working for Trump. They all insisted that it was.
One question, answered: What do we know so far about the coronavirus mutations discovered in the United Kingdom?