The past 24 hours have been a microcosm of the past four years of President Trump’s time in office — with a sudden slew of self-serving and questionable pardons, a last-minute wrench thrown into a COVID relief bill on which many were relying, and a call for someone to challenge one of the top senators in the Republican party. David Gergen, who served as an adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton, and retired federal judge Nancy Gertner joined Jim Braude to discuss the legacy Trump leaves behind.
“I feel very strongly that what we’re seeing in Trump himself is that he has done real harm to the country — lasting harm to the country,” said Gergen about Trump’s refusal to admit President-elect Joe Biden won the election. “That is very much following in the footsteps of Adolph Hitler in his early days.”
Still, both Gergen and Gertner said they believe the damage Trump has done will be temporary. And both think there are lessons to be learned for the future.
“The next three or four years are going to be very difficult,” Gergen said. “People have raw feelings: the hatred, the poison that’s in the system now will take a long time to recede. But I do think the younger generation that is coming up is much more promising. … I have hope for the long term. The short term seems pretty dark still.”
“The optimist in me says that, in many ways, [Trump] has not forever changed the presidency, only because he is such a unique character,” said Gertner. “It’s not clear that someone can fill the job with his kind of blather, frankly, the way he has. But … [Trump] has shown us the weakness of the guardrails. I don’t think that anyone else could take advantage of them quite the same way he has, but we have to do something about those guardrails.”