Donald Trump Has Left the Building

After four seemingly endless years in power, the end of the Trump era is upon us

President Donald Trump boards Marine One as he departs the White House on January 20. Photo: Eric Thayer/Getty Images

There was no adoring throng of supporters wishing him well from the White House lawn. There were no final goodbye tweets. There was no friendly welcome to the Bidens, no participation in the pageantry of the peaceful democratic transition of power. A president who never called his successor to concede, who fought for months to overturn the election he lost with a toxic mix of inflammatory lies and rallies that culminated in a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, has finally left the White House, and Washington, D.C.

We will not have seen the last of Donald Trump, but for now, he’s gone — preceded in his morning departure from the White House on Marine One by staffers carrying boxes, and by a slew of late-night pardons, including of politically-connected politicians and former aide Steve Bannon.

It has been a long four years. The longest. The wheels of democracy turn slowly—at times in this sped-up digital era, at seemingly glacial speed—but they have in fact inexorably turned against Trump from the moment he took office, from the largest-in-American-history protests that greeted his inauguration, to the 2018 midterms that cost his party the House, to his 2020 election loss and the fact that he has now become the only American president impeached twice. Trump fought against democracy with all his might, even encouraging insurrection, and yet the system held. Barely.

He leaves behind 400,000 Americans dead of Covid-19, an economy in tatters, cities full of boarded over and empty storefronts, our global reputation shattered, and the deficit he himself ran on reducing at record levels. In the days and weeks and months ahead, the Biden administration will begin the slow process of repairing the nation and learning the truth of what has really gone on these past years. In a few short hours, Trump’s term will end under the U.S. Constitution. More troops than the U.S. has stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan today guard Washington, D.C., to oversee the transfer of power to Joe Biden. And a new era will begin.

Share your thoughts on the end of the Trump era in the comments, below.

Executive Editor, GEN by Medium. Previously: Yahoo News, The Atlantic, The Washington Post. garance-at-medium-dot-com.

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