Saturday, January 20, 2018

They Were Bad. He May Be Worse. - The New York Times

After his colossally bad first year (the "accomplishments" such as they are being the product of the right wing Republican majority)  Donald Trump has - in this persuasive historical comparison- locked in his place as the worst President in American history.

His first year is book-ended by massive protests against him - primarily by women.  As year 2 began the government was shut down due to his unwillingess to acquiesce in a Congressional compromise.  One in which the Democratic leadership offered to give him every penny he asked for to build border walls and other barriers and obstacles to entry.  But he could not bring himself to go along despite a plethora of pledges and assertions of readiness to "take the heat". 

It has been a year of utterly ignoring the advice of George Washington that the president cannot in any way “demean himself in his public character” and must act “in such a manner as to maintain the dignity of office.”
His year was characterized by abusive behavior, hair raising threats (such as to "totally destroy" North Korea), abuse of the press, and appeals to racial resentment..
Finally in the last week of his first year he was awash in the recoil from his labeling  African and Caribbean countries as "shitholes".  This was followed by disclosures that ten years ago shortly after the birth of his youngest son  he had carried on a sexual relationship with a hard-core porn `actress' known as Stormy Daniels.   The Wall Street Journal then reported that three weeks before his election Trump had paid the woman $130,00 for her silence.

Wilentz suggests the best way to evaluate Trump is to compare him to the worst Presidents.  He doesn't come across well. -  gwc 

They Were Bad. He May Be Worse. - The New York Times
by Sean Wilentz (Princeton University)

***What do these bad presidents’ first years tell us about Mr. Trump? Some performed reasonably well at first, only to slide into disaster later. Might Mr. Trump grow in the job, making us forget his rookie-season bumbling? Or should we expect more of the same through 2020?
I expect the latter. Mr. Trump’s first year has been an unremitting parade of disgraces that have demeaned him as well as the dignity of his office, and he has shown that this is exactly how he believes he should govern.
Most important, he is the first president to fail to defend the nation from an attack on our democracy by a hostile foreign power — and to resist the investigation of that attack. He is the first to enrich his private interests, and those of his family, directly and openly.
He is the first president to denounce the press not simply as unfair but as “the enemy of the American people.” He is the first to threaten his defeated political opponent with imprisonment. He is the first to have denigrated friendly countries and allies as well as a whole continent with racist vulgarities.
George Washington warned that the actions of a president “may have great and durable consequences from their having been established at the commencement of a new general government.” If history is any guide — especially in light of the examples closest to his, of Buchanan and Andrew Johnson — Mr. Trump’s first year portends a very unhappy ending.

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