America, of US fame, like most countries including Bangladesh, is a nation that thrives on “firsts”. From Benjamin Franklin's discovery in 1747 of the principle of electric charge conservation, Americans among other breakthroughs were first to discover petroleum jelly in 1859, propane in 1910, link between smoking and cancer in 1912, the planet Pluto in 1930, polio vaccine in 1952, DNA structure in 1953, Hepatitis B virus in 1964 and vaccine in 1976, the Rings of Uranus in 1977… the list never stopped.
They also “discovered” their country. How a continent that was already in existence with human habitation for centuries could again be found is a personal first for me. Then emerged George Washington, who not only was the first president of Uncle Sam, but the first of English descent; had to be. His great-grandfather had migrated to the new land mid-17th century.
For a mind-set that had its roots in 18th century slavery, the country of now 18 percent blacks took one hundred and fifty years since Abraham Lincoln, a vocal opponent of slavery, to elect a non-white president. Mind you, the American voters did not vouch for Obama because they were simply keen to see the first black man as their Supreme Commander. Michelle's charm, later climbing to rock star status, did help, and that gentleman Barrack would readily agree. Attorney Obama would have won the 2009 race had he been Japanese, Icelandic or Fijian, pink or blue. He was an exceptional president and continues to glow in his unique personality, humble yet resolute, devoted family man but admired globally.
Former First Lady and lawyer Hilary Clinton almost made it as the first woman president but for the leaks at the crunch hour of the 2016 elections that, while serving as the Secretary of State earlier, she had unwittingly perhaps used her private server for official emails of sensitive and classified content; thus breaching departmental protocol. She would have been the first to reside in the White House in two different supreme roles. By the same coin, husband Bill was denied the ticket of becoming the “First Man” in the President's House.
In another first, Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer for nearly a decade Michael Cohen testified before a House Committee for eight hours early March and raised several issues implicating the president. The issues relate to the continuing investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which include Trump's business dealings, negotiations over the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 campaign and his ties to Russia, hush money payments to women, his tax returns, insurance fraud, and possible obstruction of justice. Each or all of which are extremely damaging for an election candidate.
House Democrats, patient till now, “vowed to leave no stone unturned” and will sieve Cohen's statement for justification for further inquiry to pursue a challenge to the Trump administration, but Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D) is in denial mode about any reference to even thinking about Trump's possible impeachment.
The two-pronged trouble with attempted prosecution of the president is that the hullabaloo may dampen Trump's chances of his much-desired second term, or more worryingly for immigrants, the Mexican wall, worldwide tariff war, acrimony with Europe, and love-hate with North Korea, among others, it may boost favourably his stake for 2020 for the self-proclaimed “most popular Republican President ever”.
Last month, Trump asserted that in Cohen's congressional hearing, the only single truth was that there was no Russian collusion in his victory over Hilary. In doing so Trump inadvertently (?) makes mockery of the most beautiful words uttered during the hearing. I would like to assert Mr President that there were a few other matters stated by his former lawyer and partner that were as true as he is the 45th head of the state.
While criticising the president as a racist, a conman and a cheat, Cohen was very sweet in a chivalrous way in stating that the First Lady was “…a kind, good person” and greatly respected by him.
To her credit, she remained the loyal wife during all those claims by different women about their alleged cosy relationship with Donald and his handling of affairs. The First Lady did not utter a single word to fuel the fire and in reply to journalists after Cohen's congressional testimony, she brushed them off by saying, “It is not a concern and focus of mine”. The hounding media therefore could not print a Melania quote to add fuel to the fire. Sometimes women do that when they are upset and want to teach the husband a good lesson.
It is no secret that Donald Trump wants another term in office. While his popularity has not been great with 53 percent disapproval rating and dipping, and although the US elections are a different ball game, sceptics want to believe that despite the dollar's Yo-Yo performance and commendable low employment records, he will not make it.
The GOP's best option is to nominate Melania Trump as its candidate for the 46th presidency. For a nation swooning over “firsts”, it will have the first woman, the first First Lady, the first non-native Slovenia-born and the first naturalised US citizen as president.
Assuming Melania's personality, aura and charm, and good housewife image will see her stave off Democratic opponents, fears remain about Donald's backseat driving and claim that she won because of his fantastic work as Commander-in-Chief. I can see Melania again shrugging off his hand at her own installation ceremony on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington.
As for Donald, he can continue to reside in the White House, another fulfilment of his many desires, but more importantly he could become the first First Man.
The world is again peaceful.
Dr Nizamuddin Ahmed is a practising architect, a Commonwealth Scholar and a Fellow, a Baden-Powell Fellow Scout Leader, and a Major Donor Rotarian.