CNN host Fareed Zakaria said Friday on “New Day” that President Donald Trump’s actions after the 2020 presidential election had “substantially weakened” America’s international power as a beacon of democracy.
Zakaria said, “Let’s first think about just the magnitude of the setback for the United States, because of what Donald Trump has done, partly in the four years in office, but most importantly after he lost the election. If we were to have reported on this in another country, how would we report this? We would report that there was a leader who lost an election, refusing to concede, contesting the election, rallying his supporters, inciting and even encouraging them to engage in acts of violence, raising ethnic tensions and prospects of tribal warfare. That’s how we would report this if it were happening in Africa.”
He continued, “The reality is that what Donald Trump has done is attacked the cardinal principle of a democracy, which is the peaceful transfer of power. I think this is a much bigger hit than all the slower degradation of norms and things like that. What can Biden do? Look, if you had a situation where the Democrats had hefty majorities in both the House and the Senate, I would say, put together a package of post-Trump democratic reforms. In other words, there are a lot of things that American democracy has run on, which were not rules, laws, institutions, but really norms, an expression of values, good behavior, good manners. Anyone running for president should release their tax returns. If you have a business, it should be put in real blind trust. Those kinds of things are not codified in law anywhere. They are just customs. Maybe we need to start codifying into laws a lot of things that were just norms. Unless and until we do that, and it’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, there is a cloud over the American democracy, a cloud over American soft power.”
Zakaria added, “You can see it if you watch state media in Russia, in China, in Iran. I’ve also tried to do that through translations and things like that, gotten a good sense of it— it’s all directed at this idea that American democracy has collapsed, is corrupt, is gamed, is riddled with flaws. So they recognize a lot of the power of the United States, not just what we do, but who we are. And that power has been substantially weakened by what Trump did after the election.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN