Donald Trump leaves a heap of broken glass. There is a method to this, say Anne Will’s guests. You see Joe Biden facing a difficult task – one that also demands Germany.
The outgoing US President Donald Trump clings to the White House with all his might. He continues to speak of electoral fraud and may want to stay away from Joe Biden’s inauguration. How are the US and the Republican Party doing after four years of Trump? Has Biden already gambled away his status as a bearer of hope with his cabinet? The guests discussed this on Sunday evening on the TV show “Anne Will”. An overview.
- Norbert Röttgen (CDU), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag
- Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), former Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister
Angelika Kausche, Democratic Party MP in the House of Representatives in the US state of Georgia
Peter Rough, Washington, DC Political Advisor, Republican Party member
Samira El Ouassil, “Spiegel” columnist and author
Immediately before the issue of “Anne Will”, Donald Trump announced on Twitter on Sunday evening that his lawyer Rudy Giuliani had tested positive for the corona virus. In the same breath the outgoing US President once again spoke of the “most corrupt election (by far!) in US history”.
Trump has questioned whether he will attend the inauguration of successor Joe Biden. A question of style or damage to the democratic system? The hostess wanted to know from Norbert Röttgen. “He openly disregards the basic rules of democracy, namely elections,” accused the CDU foreign expert Trump. According to Röttgen’s method, the madness has it: “He does everything to form his legend: I was not defeated, we were cheated.”
None of the guests really wanted to deal with the question of whether Trump could actually run again as a presidential candidate in 2024. At the White House Christmas party recently, the Republican said, “It’s been a wonderful four years. We’re trying to make it four more years, or I’ll see you in four years.”
Political advisor Peter Rough has largely ended the Trump era. Even after the November 3rd election, he had collected hundreds of millions of dollars in election donations, which he could use to finance future political activities. But: “From January 20, the limelight will focus on Joe Biden,” said the Republican connected from Washington. “Donald Trump will no longer have power and then it will be difficult to co-rule from outside – even if one is loud.”
Rough did not expect the president to attend the inauguration of his successor, as is the US tradition. In this case, Biden had warned that Trump could damage his country’s reputation at the very last minute. Communication scholar and columnist Samira El Ouassil found this statement by the Democrat unwise. “Biden is doing himself a disservice by doing this so big and falling right into this trap,” she said. After all, you shouldn’t have expected anything else from Trump. Anti-institutionalism, the resistance to existing structures, was after all the main characteristic of Trump’s presidency for four years. It was “only logical” not to recognize election results.
The “New York Times” has just attested Trump that he hardly ever appears to work. But on Saturday the president was in Georgia. There, the last two seats and thus power in the Senate will be decided in a runoff election on January 5th. Democrat Angelika Kausche, born in Wuppertal, makes local politics in the state as a member of the House of Representatives. At this level, an understanding between the warring camps is more likely. “But it is getting more and more difficult,” she described the deep division and asked in view of Trump’s election fraud lies: “Where are the Republicans who say: enough is enough?”
Biden’s main task, according to Röttgen, is now to reconcile the country. “There is poison in the system. Poison withdrawal will probably take longer,” said the CDU politician. That also applies to the Republican Party. “What Trump did was the hostile takeover of the Republican Party. He was not received with open arms. Now the question is: how stable is this hostile takeover?”
Ex-Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also identified hostility as an important weapon in Trump. He stylized the political opponent as an enemy and thus radicalized his supporters. Now the conservatives would have to decide how to deal with Trump’s legacy. “The battle within the Republican Party is now being fought,” said Gabriel, but also pointed out that the conservatives had radicalized themselves long before Trump, keyword “Tea Party”.
The evening’s controversy
Thanks to the moderate Republican Rough, there was broad agreement in the group. The biggest differences of opinion were in the verdict on the Biden cabinet. Even within the party, criticism was voiced that the elected president relies too much on old political leaders instead of new forces. A relapse into old mistakes that made Trump rise? “This is the revenge of the establishment,” was Rough’s judgment. For Ouassil, the composition of the cabinet also shows how hermetically sealed the US political system remains: “I think that’s a problem.”
“I consider the establishment to be a pure defamation campaign,” said Röttgen. “Biden is a middle-class man.” This is reflected in his personnel decisions. Gabriel called it a “weird notion” that officials with no experience should be better. Biden needs an experienced team because he is “a president of transition” who has to lead the country through a difficult phase.
The quote of the evening
Röttgen and Gabriel warned against leaving the US under Biden alone in its new old leadership role. “This administration will turn to the world again,” said Röttgen. Germany must ask itself: “What new substance do we want to bring into this relationship?”
Gabriel called for the USA to be aggressively approached with offers in order to curb China’s influence on the world stage. He brought a joint rival project to Beijing’s Silk Road Initiative into play. “Why are we not offering the Central Asians and Africans any infrastructure projects and funding between the US and Europe?” Asked the ex-foreign minister and underlined. “There is a very great possibility if there is understanding on both sides: We need each other in the 21st century too”