Out with the old and in with the new in Washington D.C.
As Joe Biden settles into the White House as America’s 46th President, the task ahead of him and his administration is enormous.
Michael Johns, Barrie 360 political correspondent and associate professor of political science at Laurentian University, says he would be hard-pressed to imagine a president coming into office with as many problems as the new U.S. President has.
“You probably have to go all the way back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” says Johns, “who was elected at sort of the beginnings of the Depression, where you had all sorts of civil rights problems, an economic collapse, and you had a really angry United States. That is the sort of world Joe Biden is walking into.”
Johns says this can’t be compared to when Barack Obama took over in 2008 in the midst of a financial collapse.
“There is that happening, but there is also a health crisis going on, an ideological civil war in the United States where armed terrorists stormed the Capitol,” explains Johns. “Any one of them would be what should take the full attention of the new administration.”
Johns says Biden must also bring everybody together as a nation.
“A lot of people have bought into this conspiracy theory that has no justification that the election was fraudulent, and all the things that Donald Trump and his supporters have been peddling. You’re trying to have unity with people who don’t even consider you president.”
Johns says Biden is a likeable man and someone who has respect from traditional Republicans, but even with that, he says the odds are really stacked up against him.
In fact, Johns predicts Biden will face more challenges inside the U.S. than on the international front, despite threats and sabre rattling from Iran, North Korea, China and Russia.
As Biden launches into his presidency, Johns doesn’t believe the sun has set on the Donald Trump era, and he says Republicans will have to make a decision on whether to keep the fire burning or snuff it out.
While Trump has lost his Twitter megaphone, at least for now, Johns believes the former U.S. President will still have a voice and will be a major player, if not in the Republican party, at least among the Republican electorate.
“Politicians who are identifying themselves as Republicans are going to have to make that calculus as to whether they want to go after Trump voters or if they want to re-establish what the Republican party was prior to Donald Trump,” says Johns. “Determining that is going to be really hard for them because there are votes on both sides.”
Johns doesn’t believe Trump will run again in 2024, no matter what happens with impeachment. He thinks Trump may start his own media organization or his own television outlets to maintain control over the Republican party.
What Trump won’t be able to control is how historians see him.
“This will be four years that will be remembered as a chaotic and dangerous period, where you had a president that acted very unpresidential throughout, and at times seemed disinterested in the job and overmatched for the job,” according to Johns.
Johns says Trump did have his success stories, such as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he believes was very good for the United States, as well as some of his other trade deals, and the bringing home of some troops from different places in the world.
However, Johns says Trump weakened the United States around the world, with allies and adversaries, and led to this moment where there is a deeply divided America.
“That’s on his watch,” says Johns. “That’s what he’ll be remembered for. It doesn’t matter what the stock market was doing before COVID. The mismanagement of COVID and the danger that the United States has found itself in for a whole variety of reasons will be the Trump legacy.”
Johns says Trump enjoyed the attention that being the leader of the free world brought to him more than the work that had to be done.
“Trump seemed to really enjoy the idea of being president more than the job of being president.