Donald Trump has finally promised to hand over power peacefully. But until January 20th he has extensive powers. And its most dangerous weapon is not even mentioned in the constitution.
There are still 13 days. Donald Trump is still President of the United States for 13 days. Only now, it would actually be called. But in this case you have to say: still.
On January 20, Joe Biden is officially inducted into the office of US President. Until then, Donald Trump will be the most powerful man in the world. And more than ever after the events of Wednesday, the question arises: What can he still do?
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The short answer is: less than a few weeks ago – but still more than enough.
The last step to handover
Donald Trump’s options to cause harm are dwindling. Although his radical supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, Congress confirmed Joe Biden’s election victory at 3:40 a.m. Usually this is just a formality. But this time it was delayed by the Republicans – and then even stopped for the time being by Trump’s supporters.
Trump’s campaign against the election result comes to an end, at least formally. Confirmation by Congress is the final step on the long road from election day to the inauguration of the new president. Trump and his helpers have tried everything to prevent this confirmation: with confused conspiracy theories, countless lawsuits and undisguised pressure on officials. But now they have finally failed.
It is now official: Congress confirmed the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election. (Source: Reuters)
Trump has now also admitted that, if only indirectly, of course. When Vice President Mike Pence announced the confirmation of the Biden victory in the Capitol, the president issued a statement promising an “orderly transfer of power on January 20th” – “even if I totally disagree with the election results and the facts with me to be right “.
Trump’s second big defeat that day
Not only are Donald Trump’s options dwindling, his power is also eroding. Because in addition to the official confirmation of the Biden victory and the storming of the Capitol, something extremely important happened in the USA on that memorable January 6th: the result of the runoff election in Georgia was announced.
In the southeastern state, the last two Senate seats were awarded, which could hardly be more important. Because they decided whether the Democrats control the Senate as well as the House of Representatives. And thus about whether Biden can govern in the future without being permanently slowed down by the powerful Congress.
It was clear soon after the election on Tuesday that the Baptist pastor Raphael Warnock had won his seat for the Democrats. And when Trump’s rioters raged in Congress, CNN announced the Democrats’ second victory: Jon Ossoff will also sit in the Senate in the future.
Because Republicans and Democrats now each have 50 seats and the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris decides, it is practically impossible for Trump in his final days to get bills through the two chambers of parliament.
But the US president remains powerful, even without parliament. Trump can continue to rule by decree – with so-called executive orders. They have legal status and can be overturned by the courts. Congress cannot stop it, however, it can only try to change it with its own laws.
“You are something very special”: In this video, Donald Trump addressed his supporters after the storm on the Capitol, it was deleted from Facebook and his account has since been blocked. (Source: t-online)
However, if in doubt, the president could prevent such a project again – through his veto. Just like any other law from Congress. His veto would then again have to be overruled by a two-thirds majority in Congress.
President-elect Biden has already announced that he will overturn several executive orders from Trump after taking office. He could also do that with others that Trump is still issuing. But only after January 20th. Until then, Trump can cheerfully fire ministers and employees, as he has done extensively since the election.
And Trump, as Commander in Chief, has far-reaching power over the National Guard – and the military. Although he cannot formally declare war, Congress is responsible for that. But Trump could first send troops on his own initiative. He only has to inform Congress about it within 48 hours. He can then lodge an objection, which would result in a withdrawal within 60 to 90 days.
But of course a lot may have happened by then.
Trump’s greatest asset
Apart from formal power, Trump has something else: the power of the word. In this situation it is the most likely and most dangerous source of new unrest. Because Trump has only been interested in concrete politics in the past few weeks – and mostly only when he was able to put obstacles in the way of his successor.
His focus was on the campaign against the election – and thus against democracy. Even if it has now reached formal limits in the election, it can continue to undermine democracy. In order to prevent that, he would actually have to be silenced. In times of the Internet, this is practically impossible, even after Twitter and Facebook have blocked it at least temporarily. He will reach his loyal followers via any platform.
Fan fueled: This is how Trump incited his fans at the Capitol. (Source: t-online)
Trump triggered the storm on the Capitol not through formal power, but through words. “We’re going to the Capitol and trying to give the Republicans the pride and boldness they need to bring our country back to us,” Trump called out to his supporters in a speech before they really went out in droves.
He left no doubt that Trump wants to continue. The President praised his followers while they were rioting: “We love you guys, you are very special,” he said in a video that was quickly deleted from social media because he was still talking about a “stolen election”.
And even Trump’s statement, in which he promises an “orderly transfer of power,” contains a blunt threat: “It is only the beginning of our struggle to make America great again.”
His radical supporters are ready. Even if he’s no longer president.