“I play to people’s fantasies,” says Donald Trump in his book ‘The Art of the Deal’. “People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion,” he elaborates.

This is exactly what Trump did on January 6, making hundreds of his supporters believe in his ‘alternate universe’ where he has won the re-election. In an attempt to overturn Trump’s defeat in the US election, an armed and angry mob stormed the United States Capitol to disrupt the formalisation of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Trump supporters breached police security, vandalized, occupied and looted some parts of the Capitol, before it was evacuated and locked down. Five including a Capitol Police officer died and dozen others were injured in the riot.

The mob had gathered in Washington, D.C. following Trump’s “Save America” rally, where he asked his supporters to “fight like hell” and “take back our country”. Trump had incited violence on social media as well with his posts claiming that his supporters would not be “disrespected” and he would not attend successor Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Trump will be the only president in 152 years, after Andrew Johnson, to skip the swearing-in of his successor.

Well, there’s nothing to be shocked about as Trump has been vocal about not accepting an election loss for years. He has been encouraging his followers for violence and never condemned it. Soon after assuming office on January 20, 2017, the 45th US President introduced his “alternate” world. On a question about the ‘photoshopped images’ of the crowds in Trump’s swearing-in, his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said the administration had presented “alternative facts”. When a New York Times reporter refused to accept these “alternative facts”, Trump and his team started to project it as an “alternative reality” for his followers, who later decided to boycott the news channel.

Trump also became the country’s first president to be impeached by the US House of Representatives twice. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Liz Cheney, the Republican who backed impeachment, said.

Under his presidency, the US became the worst hit country by COVID-19. He was heavily criticised for his handling of the public health as well as economic crises during the pandemic. Over 30 million Americans lost their jobs during COVID-19 crisis. He not only downplayed the threat but also promoted misinformation about coronavirus. Though he himself tested COVID-19 positive later. According to the Oklahoma officials, Trump’s Tulsa rally in June “more than likely” caused a spike in the coronavirus cases. But remember, he once said: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

However, it is hard to believe that the ongoing threat will recede with Trump’s departure. According to a warning issued by federal intelligence bulletin, “Amplified perceptions of fraud surrounding the outcome of the General Election and the change in control of the Presidency and Senate very likely will lead to an increase in DVE (domestic violence extremists) violence.”

But what can we expect after Jan. 20 from former President Donald Trump?

If you’ve been following the news for the past two weeks, and you took it at face value, you might be forgiven for thinking Trump is heading off into a presidential retirement of unique shame, ignominy and oblivion: Shunned by all respectable people, ignored even by Republicans, and facing mounting legal battles over various actions.

“Writing Trump off prematurely is not supported by the current data,” tell experts. Polls state that he is still extremely popular with his base and numbers are good enough to easily win an open Republican primary. Another option is new high-profile media venture.

“What we know about this president is if he’s given four more years he will be what he’s been the last four years. A president who takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators, and fans the flames of hate and division. He will wake up every day believing the job is all about him. Never about you. Is that the America you want for you, your family, your children?” 

Joe Biden at the 2020 Democratic National Convention

Now, with Biden at helm, Americans and rest of the world can hope for some sanity from the government. The task is bigger than ever for the 78-year-old as a bitterly divided nation awaits him to take the oath outside a wounded U.S. Capitol and reshape the presidency, take control of the pandemic and improve the state of public affairs. During his tenure as vice-president of the Obama government, from 2009 to 2017, Biden led the transition team and helped improve the economic well-being of the middle-class. He established good relations with leaders from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan during his chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee. Obama once compared Biden to a basketball player “who does a bunch of things that don’t show up in the stat sheet”.

But the challenge for Biden is immense. Just hiring the thousands of good men and women needed to bring the country out of the hole it has been driven into will take time and energy. Trump took almost four years to create the current mess; it won’t be easy to clean it up. Only time will tell when, if ever, the two disassociated selves of the country can meet in the middle.