Harrop: America is letting Trump’s calls go to voice mail

Like much of the rest of America, more GOP officials and companies are moving on from the Trump era.

By Froma Harrop / syndicated columnist

Save this video for the documentaries. It shows Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey certifying his state’s vote for President-elect Biden when his cellphone goes off. The ringtone, “Hail to the Chief,” means President Trump is on the line. Ducey mutes the phone, casually puts it down and goes on with his presentation.

Ducey was not about to let Trump break into his briefing. He sure wasn’t going to pay any mind to Trump’s false charges that the election in Arizona was riddled with fraud. Ducey basically turned off Trump’s mic.

A dead mic leads to less obsession over Trump tantrums. Americans, including Republicans like Ducey, have internalized that he will be gone in a few weeks. Fear of Trump has gone poof.

Nowhere was this more evident than in Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, ignored Trump’s attacks on them and how their state counted the votes. When Trump said he was “ashamed” to have endorsed Kemp, you could almost hear the shrug.

Gabriel Sterling, a Republican who manages Georgia’s voting system, expressed unforgettable fury over death threats directed at election workers. “Mr. President,” he roared, “you have not condemned these actions or this language.” His anger expanded to senators who, he held, were defending neither the democracy nor the workers. “All of you who have not said a damned word are complicit in this,” he said.

A year ago, General Motors succumbed to Trump’s bullying Detroit into joining his campaign to strip California of the right to set its own emissions rules. Ford Motor refused to go along, and so, Trump tried to hurt its business. He said founder Henry Ford would be “very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs don’t want to fight California regulators.”

But last week, GM did an abrupt 180. It said it wants to work with Biden in promoting clean energy. And as part of that effort, it will offer 30 new electric vehicles by 2025.

“GM Dumps Trump” was in the Detroit Free Press headline.

In reality, Trump was awful for the carmakers’ business. The world was racing to electric vehicles, and Trump was holding them back from where they needed to go.

Climate change is suddenly back on the agenda. Ford has joined Walmart, Citigroup, Amazon and about 40 other big corporations to support the U.S. rejoining the Paris climate accord. They wrote a letter urging “President-elect Biden and the new Congress to work together.”

Even the American Farm Bureau Federation, once a Trump ally in opposing climate legislation, has reconsidered. It’s now calling for a federal program to cut agricultural emissions.

Several companies are now supporting a tax on greenhouse gas emissions. This idea, which has enemies on both the right and the left, is a good one.

Trump will certainly retain his most loyal fandom. But as his power to intimidate conspicuously withers, his future as a Republican kingmaker seems much in doubt. Ironically, the mainstream media, a group Trump continually whacked but that has lived off his every antic, will play a big role here.

It really doesn’t matter whether Trump officially concedes the election to Biden. More important is how the media would cover a Trump attempt to grab attention by announcing a run in 2024 in the middle of Biden’s inauguration. Would news organizations make another Trump spectacle the big story of the day? Or will they follow the Arizona’s governor’s fine example and put Trump on mute?

One hopes for the latter. After all, America moving on is the real news.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. Email her at fharrop@gmail.com.

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The U.S. Capitol building is prepared for the inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as the "Field of Flags" are placed on the ground on the National Mall on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. in Washington, DC. Approximately 191,500 flags will cover part of the National Mall and will represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, for the inauguration. (Joe Raedle/Pool vias AP)
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