Comment Of The Day: “The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: #8 ‘Trump Only Cares About Himself, Not The Country'”

Jeffrey Valentine has given us a perfect send-off into Presidents Day weekend with an epic post ranking the 44 men who have led our nation.

When I was a lad, Presidential ranking lists were common and popular. Jeffrey’s version is better and fairer than most of them. Then as now, the historian cabal was overtly political, overwhelmingly liberal, and successfully misleading the public with false narratives gilded into accepted truth. Worst of all was Kennedy’s house historian, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.  who was routinely treated by the news media of the time as an objective authority, which he most certainly was not. He placed his friend and idol JFK in the “Near Great” category, scrupulously ignored the warts on Democratic Presidents like Wilson and Jackson, and was especially unfair to Eisenhower, whose “hidden hand” Presidency has gradually won admirers the more we learn about what he was doing.

Ethics Alarms is dedicated to the subjects of both ethics and leadership, so Jeffrey’s commentary is especially welcome as well as timely. Here is Jeffrey Valentine’s Comment of the Day on the post, “The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: #8 “Trump Only Cares About Himself, Not The Country.” I’ll be back for a brief comment at the end:

Perhaps moreso than the original post, Adimagejim’s comments about former President Obama [JAM: Commenter Adimagejim was extremely critical of President Obama ] got me thinking about how I think about Presidents and how they rank. The more I think about it, I put Presidents into seven distinct categories. As you will see, my personal opinions don’t always mesh with popular opinion. I will also note that while I find the Presidents fascinating, I won’t even pretend to study them to to the extent that our host has.

The categories are as follows:

1. The Greats with no caveats. These are the Presidents who could objectively say “I was a great President because…..”, have a really reasonable explanation of why they were great, and not have to explain away any major part of their respective presidencies. In this category, I place George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Ronald Reagan. [You’ll note these categories won’t create perfect rankings, per se, as I believe there is at least one president (Roosevelt) in paragraph 2 objectively better than Jefferson, Monroe, Polk, Truman, and Reagan].

[Note One: This ethics blog is often very critical of Jefferson-reasonably so as a man- but I’m ONLY analyzing the presidencies of these men. I think his presidency was clearly successful-even if he wasn’t an ethical individual. In fact, Jefferson may be the major exception that probes Jack’s rule that, generally speaking, the country is better served by an ethical man holding the presidency.]

[Note Two: James K. Polk doesn’t quite seem to fit on this list. I think his reputation is a function of consequentialism, however. He expanded U.S. territory, which set the stage for the civil war. Historians blame him for this- I don’t think that’s fair. I read somewhere that a historian once stated he resolved matter for HIS time. I think it’s unfair to expect a president to do more. What he resolved for his time- he resolved well. He was, therefore, a great, but not legendary, president.]

2. The Greats with Significant Caveats: These are the Presidents who could objectively say, “I was a great president because…”, have a really reasonable explanation about why they were great, but would have a major controversy or issue to to explain away in terms of their legacy. Caveats are always, in my mind, considered based on their respective times. My more liberal friends might put Washington in this category, because he owned slaves. I do not. This list includes Andrew Jackson (Trail of Tears), Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Japanese American Internment), Dwight D. Eisenhower, (McCarthyism), Lyndon B. Johnson, (The Vietnam War), and Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky).

Note One: Johnson’s caveat is horrendously unfair to him- he inherited that issue from Kennedy, most people supported the war in the beginning, and once you’re in a fight-it’s hard to get out. All I can say is that there ain’t nothing fair about being president-so this list ain’t always fair either.

Note Two: My very conservative friends say FDR actually lengthened the depression in a way that was terrible for the country. I’ve never seen compelling evidence of this, although I don’t pretend to be a economy expert-is there such a thing? I will say that even if that’s true, the suffering had become so great, one could reasonably argue FDR had to act. In a pure list of most successful presidents, FDR is easily top 5-probably top 3.

3. The Presidents whose significant caveats are so bad, their other successes seem dwarfed by the caveats themselves. These Presidents could say, “I was a great president because….”, but no one would listen due to the major mistakes/evils that they did in their time in office. In other words, the mistake or evil action the president took, makes it so they take a major tumble down my list, even if some of their other actions were extremely good for this country. This list, as of today, is two Presidents in my opinion: Richard Nixon for Watergate, and John Adams for the Alien and Sedition Act.

Note One: My late grandfather probably believed Clinton belonged in this list- and every year I age- I get closer and closer to thinking he’s right. I’m not there yet, though. Give me ten years, and I probably will be.

4. Presidents who were “meh” for various reasons. They have some successes, but they just weren’t great either. Generally, these are the presidents whose names won’t come when you try to list the presidents from scratch. This list includes John Quincy Adams (Good infrastructure work- but just didn’t get politics enough to be a great president), Chester A. Arthur, (very serviceable term- but no major achievements to point to- and, like many, failed to help with discrimination in the south), Grover Cleveland-(2 Serviceable terms-but there’s a reason this is the president I always forget-did modernize the military- but also didn’t help protect the 15th amendment in the south), Benjamin Harrison (the Sherman Anti-trust Act was good, the Dawes Act was bad), William McKinley (strong foreign affairs work especially with Spain, poor work on the domestic side-with respect to African American interests-he might have risen to a higher level if he had not been assassinated-he might have been more help in the South in his second term-as he would have been less politically restrained), William Howard Taft, (a better lawyer than a president, I think, who, like many lawyers, acted too cautiously at times, also wouldn’t hire African Americans to do federal jobs if it would cause racial friction-again, TOO cautious), and Gerald Ford, (I think pardoning Nixon was necessary and good, he doesn’t have much successes to his name beyond this-also had a terrible economy during his presidency).

Note One: Gerald Ford was the hardest President to place. He was never elected, for one. Should that benefit him or hurt him in this exercise? The best things he did seems to have been pardoning Nixon and choosing not to bail out New York City when it went bankrupt. Those aren’t that impressive, but I also don’t know of any majorly negative things he did. I feel in my gut like I ranked Ford incorrectly.

5. Objectively bad Presidents who have reasonable excuses for their failures. These are the presidents who cannot reasonably argue that they had a successful presidency. These are the presidents who you read about their presidency, and you think, “well, they tried, but their personalities at the time weren’t strong enough to fulfill their duties to the country.” This category and the next will have the most names- which goes to Jack’s point that the vast majority of Presidents really do mean well for the country. The list includes James Madison (wrongly believed the War of 1812 would greatly benefit the US), John Tyler, (not elected- first vice president to ascend, when it wasn’t clear that’s what should happen after a President’s death), Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, (All three men who didn’t have the strength and leadership needed to lead America prior to the civil war. Often considered among the worst presidents. I’ve never been sure their reputations were fair. I’m not sure any individual president could have protected the union AND ended slavery. Each recognized this and decided that preserving the union was more important. Perhaps all three would have been excellent presidents at another time- we will never know.), Andrew Johnson (was VP only for political reasons- and was, therefore, placed in a horrible position by Lincoln’s assassination-also just didn’t know how to play the game of politics at the level that was necessary at that time), Rutherford B. Hayes (tried but failed to address racial disparity in the South-also failed to reform civil service appointments despite his efforts to do so during his term. Of all the Presidents, this was the saddest ranking-the man really tried to do the right thing. Frankly, probably a better man than the country deserved at that point in our history), and Herbert Hoover (didn’t respond quickly enough to the stock market crash-but I think that was because he understandably didn’t want to overreact-a mistake that any reasonable president could make-but by that point, he was completely dead in the water).

Note One: Again, there’s nothing fair about being president or about this list. My sincere apologies to President Hayes. If we were ranking men-instead or presidents- he would be near the very top. [And Jefferson would be near the bottom.]

6. Objectively bad Presidents who had no reasonable excuses for their failures. These are the Presidents who were bad, and you can’t really point to any significant issue that ought to have been too big for their respective personalities during their time. This list includes Ulysses S. Grant (serious scandals throughout his presidency with limited success otherwise-I always thought that odd for a military man), Woodrow Wilson, (This guy was a major racist, who objectively failed to get the U.S. to buy into his best idea-the League of Nations. He gets credit for ultimately being right about that issue, but I’m not sure what good that ultimately did the country. It’s not enough to be right. It’s not enough to be smart. You also have to be able to sell the idea. He was too much an intellectual-not enough a salesperson. [Ironically, I think this issue is what would make me a TERRIBLE president-not that anybody asked]. I’ve always been told he was a top-tier president. I just don’t see it. Sometimes, his reputation actually makes me feel like the whole rest of the world is gaslighting me.), Warren G. Harding, (serious scandals and not a lot of successes to make up for them), Calvin Coolidge, (Didn’t seem to get the management part of being president-kept Harding’s cabinet despite the scandals attached-was, at least not a racist, but his successes are very few), John F. Kennedy, (Kennedy’s decisions set the stage for some of the worst conflicts over the next 70 years, somehow managed to make the evil Fidel Castro look like a national hero, laid the groundwork for conflicts in Vietnam and Iraq, and also he okayed illegally wire tapping Dr. Martin Luther King. He seems to me objectively a terrible president- his death, I think, did more to aid his legacy than anything else), Jimmy Carter, (when militant Muslims take over my President’s embassy and take American citizens hostage-my president damn well better be saying “let them go, or I solemnly promise we’re going to kill you all.” If it’s not, that president loses all of my confidence. Jimmy Carter was too weak to be president- and never should have been.), George H.W. Bush (failed to fully resolve the Iraq crisis when he should have, very little other successes to his name-other than possibly the Americans with Disabilities Act- which I think was necessary, but bungled-was made way over broad in some areas), George W. Bush, (if you’re going to invade a country, have a friggin’ plan. If you don’t have a plan, stay home. Also wrong about same-sex marriage, failed to respond to Hurricane Katrina in a timely fashion, but possibly did some good with the Patriot Act), and Barack Obama (failed to meaningful address race relations despite his unique ability to do so, actively made them worse at every turn, resolved the only issue that wasn’t an actual issue in healthcare, which made things objectively worse for the real issues [poor people don’t care if you send them outrageous medical bills-they throw them away- and nobody sues poor people-the issue was the middle class-which got majorly screwed], made us actively look weak on the world stage, made a concession deal with Iran-[had he never read about Neville Chamberlain?], but may have helped the economy recover with the stimulus package in 2009.)

7. Presidents who never got a chance to truly be President:William Henry Harrison, Zachary Tyler, James Garfield.

Note One: I find it really annoying and unethical when ranking lists actually rank these three, and invariably rank them near last. That’s not fair. If you don’t get at least two years as President, you should obviously get an Incomplete.

A few extra notes on Obama and Trump:

Obama angers me more than the other bad presidents. I think it’s in part because he’s so smug about it. He says things like “I think I was a good president.” Okay, Mr. Former President, but why!? What was so good about your Presidency?” I see very little actual success that made the country objectively better. I see him as one of the biggest disappointments ever. Only time will tell if that’s because it’s fresh- or because it really is that he’s such a terrible disappointment. I will note it may be a little unfair of me to say that he had so much power to help with race relations BECAUSE he was the first black president. But on the other hand, didn’t he sell that as one of the reasons to vote for him?

Trump, right now, belongs in Category #2. He’s done, as far as I can tell, great work for this country. His caveat is a strange one. He would have to explain why he’s such an asshole, at times. That issue, to me, will always keep him out of the top tier presidents. I’m fine with that. I don’t want a guy who acts like Trump taking up the same space as Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. It feels like be belongs better in the company of Clinton and Jackson, doesn’t it?

I’m back.

I am going to wrestle my metaphorical tongue to the ground and restrain myself, because my complete reactions to Jeffrey’s ranking would be at least as long as his post. However, he has done an excellent and perceptive job regardless of any cavils I might have. Other than two brief observations that I cannot resist making immediately, I’ll restrict myself to the comments, and encourage a lively discussion there.

My first point is that Washington and Lincoln were so important, their challenges so momentous, and the potential costs of their failures so calamitous that they should occupy a top tier category by themselves.

My second is that seeing Bill Clinton in Category 2 made me throw up in my mouth. The closest comp to Clinton, in my view is Richard Nixon, and depending on my mood, I am sometimes convinced that Clinton’s long-term damage to the country and our society may be worse than Nixon’s. Almost every thing Jeffrey says about Obama I would say about Clinton. He makes me angry. His was a great opportunity lost, to make the country less divided, to strengthen bipartisan cooperation and to mitigate the generational divide. Unlike Obama, he had the political skills and experience to accomplish this. He failed, launching us into the current period of poisonous polarization, for the most selfish and juvenile of reasons, other than the fact that he was reflexively corrupt: he couldn’t keep it in his pants.

I think Jeffrey should listen to his grandfather.

37 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: #8 ‘Trump Only Cares About Himself, Not The Country'”

  1. “Gerald Ford was the hardest President to place. He was never elected, for one.”

    I’ll paraphrase Archie Bunker attempting to defend him, as only Archie could:

    “President Ford hasn’t done half bad for a guy that nobody voted for.”

    And didn’t Barack “good solid B +” Obama self-anoint himself as 4th Greatest President EVAH?

    • Re: Trump’s assholeness. Maybe the country needs an asshole (as in, “he may be an asshole, but he’s our asshole”) right now as a purgative for all the prissy, passive-aggressive, stealth assholeness we’ve had to endure from the Clintons and Obama and Nancy (I’ll pray for you”) Pelosi and Adam Schiff and Jerald Nadler and Chuck Schumer (and probably Jimmy Carter, come to think of it).

        • I think you’re failing to make an important distinction. The country always needs a president who knows HOW to be an asshole, but I don’t think it ever needs a president who IS an asshole. Trump’s great strength is he can be an asshole when he needs to be. His big weakness is he cannot turn the asshole off.

          • That’s because he IS an asshole, and has no self control. Assholes we have had in the White House include Clinton, Carter, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, Truman, FDR, Coolidge, Hoover, Wilson…and that’s just going back to 1900. Only trump has allowed his inner asshole to undermine his effectivness.

            • “Only trump has allowed his inner asshole to undermine his effectiveness.” Doubtless a true enough observation, but it may be effective in other, important ways. These may not be ordinary times. I know, I know, I’m RATIONALIZING! But the passive aggressive BS may need to be purged by a relentless counter attack. Maybe some of the populace’s anger needs to be vented by an asshole in chief. Besides, when you see him interviewed on television shows by people who are not acting like assholes, he strikes me as a perfectly reasonable, civil man of common sense.

              I just think Trump’s assholeness is an extremely interesting phenomenon which can’t be dismissed out of hand on the basis of previous norms.

    • WhattsamattaU, OB?

      You giving the Former Serial Sexual Predator In Chief a pass on the CFMA, which deregulated
      freakin’ derivatives, or what Warren SirTaxMeMore Buffett called Financial Weapons Of Mass Destruction.

      Or Riegle-Neal, which deregulated interstate banking and led to beau coup mergers, which, as you must surely know, are always good for the consumer.

      Or the LTCM bailout, which set a slippery slope precedent.

      Not just GS, but all of Wall Street and beyond, benefited mightily from William Jefferson (as fate would have it the first and middle name of my maternal Great Grandfather) and his partner-in-crime HRC.

      Speaking of which; a separate category co-Presidents…?

  2. I blame LB Johnson as much for the Great Society initiatives as for Vietnam, but that might be a matter like Polk’s of dealing with an issue well for the time in a way that created disasters later (I think it directly led to the breakdown of black communities and much of the racial strife we see today.) I wasn’t alive then, and I know some people here were, so I’ll defer to them on what the short terms effects were.

    Also not sure if having two caveats would knock him down a catagory.

    But interesting list. I think it’s remarkably fair for this sort of thing.

    • Re: long and short term effects, wasn’t it LBJ who said once the Great Society bills were passed “The niggers will vote for us for the next two hundred years?”

      • You two sure about that?

        The unimpeachable SNOPES rates it UNPROVEN, adding “(w)e don’t have a high degree of confidence that he actually said it, however.”

        Sigh; who to believe…

        Anywho, there’s one they don’t rate: “Son, when I appoint a nigger to the bench, I want everybody to know he’s a nigger.”

      • I recall that. And it turns out to have had some validity to it. Sadly. The intention was to secure a reliable voting block for the Democrats and any benefit to the people was just the cherry-on-top. As it played out, it made the people collateral damage, but apparently worth it. So Elby Jay was working on more than a solution for “now”, he was looking to the future. Is that a plus or a minus? Depends who you ask.

    • LBJ would also be really low in my list of most ethical presidents. By all accounts I’ve read the man was a womanizing, chauvinistic, blowhard. The less flattering accounts suggest he was a psychopath- who had barely any scruples whatsoever. But, this wasn’t a list of most ethical presidents.

      • Exactly. That’s a completely different matter, and some of our most unethical Presidents were also some of the greatest. None of the categories really fit him: he does not deserve to be in Category #3 with Nixon, who was far worse, or Adams, who just wasn’t as consequential. Johnson is going to be forever one of the Presidents historians fight over. On my scoreboard, his civil rights accomplishments mark him well on the plus side. Kennedy couldn’t have done it, and Nixon would not have

    • The War on Poverty was really an incredibly cynical war for poverty, it created a permanent underclass by incentivizing single parent households. This begat generations of even lower income households with less child supervision. Voila! A dependent, less socialized, more ignorant class willing to do the bidding of their governmental masters. We may get to see how well they listen soon enough.

    • I blame Johnson for the infamous credibility gap from the White House. He effectively destroyed a measure of trust in the president that I don’t think we’ve ever recovered.

      I cannot blame him for getting us into the Vietnam War but, my God, did he have to pick morons to run it? Any general who thinks an attritional strategy for the United States (or likely most democracies) is a good idea needs to go back to the Army War College, or maybe go through West Point again.

      • I’m not sure the Pentagon has every been able to wrap its head around asymmetrical warfare since the (successful) conclusion of the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately.

  3. There’s a few I would shift, but the more recent are spot on to me. I would rate Ford higher as that pardon did far more than it first appeared, not for Nixon but to end the howling of the legislatives once he was out of office. It prevented this drawn-out impeachment process we’ve had for years now and doesn’t seem likely to fade anytime soon. I consider it heroic that he put a period to it, even at the cost of any future ambitions.

  4. Putting Polk in the “Great” category can only be avoided by political correctness. and presentism. The US was expanding (and needed to expand); Polk’s objective was to do it, and he did. You literally can’t be a more successful President, and he did it in a single term. When the job was done, he left, and promptly died. He deserved his ranking, and has all along.

  5. Very good list. Enjoyed reading it. Agree with your results for the most part. And while I generally agree with your analysis of Trump, I do add that his handling of the bumpstock issue and AG Barr’s new directive to root out potential mass shooters similar to how potential terrorists are rooted out is concerning. Time will show how these play out, but for now, I’ll hold out on a final summary.

    I would put Reagan lower, however. He had some great policies, but the two I disagree with are the FOPA and the IRCA.

    Both did some good things. FOPA allowed protection to firearms owners traveling through states with stricter firearms regulations than their destination state. IRCA finally made knowingly hiring illegal immigrants a crime. However, they came with some serious compromises.

    FOPA closed the NFA registry, preventing registration of items covered under the National Firearms Act. Your grandpa’s war bring back MP-40 that was forgotten in the attic for 50 years now makes you a criminal if you don’t destroy it.

    IRCA also made legal almost every illegal immigrant who had arrived before 1982. That set a dangerous precedent, in my opinion. I wouldn’t be surprised if the current far left plan used that as a reference to support their positions, especially now that the New Way Forward act.

  6. Great list. Some minor quibbles not important to the list.

    Obama was a terrible president because he rejected the opportunity to mend racial discord. In fact, he made matters worse by siding with race hustlers at every opportunity.

    I was watching Anderson Cooper try to save Elizabeth Warren and her presidential run last week. He asked her why we should vote for her over Buttegieg and Sanders. Part of her response included the formation of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, set up under the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. That bureau has fined big bank hundreds of millions of dollars, most of which consumers have not seen. Additionally, the Bureau is almost certainly unconstitutional in that it acts independently of the Legislative and Executive Branches , and has limited scrutiny by the Judicial Branch. SCOTUS might do the right thing and strike it down. That is another legacy if Obama’s failed presidency – he expanded the Executive Branch power ignoring Constitutional restraint.

    jvb

  7. McCarthyism isn’t a blot on Eisenhower’s presidency. He is more responsible than anybody else for breaking McCarthy’s power. If anything, McCarthyism should be counted as a mark against Truman. His government, especially the State Department, really was riddled with Communist spies (mostly inherited from FDR, to be sure), and Truman covered up for them. That reality and the coverup are what caused McCarthy’s rise.

    • Ike could have called him out, but calculated, probably correctly, that a direct confrontation would be hugely divisive,and the best course was to let Tailgunner Joe self-destruct, which he was bound to do, and did. In Jeff’s scheme, Ike is a great President.

  8. A great essay about Eisenhower by Murray Kempton, with a great story about Ike and one of McCarthy’s allies:

    https://archive.esquire.com/article/1967/9/1/the-underestimation-of-dwight-d-eisenhower

    I talked to him just once. He was in Denver, getting ready for the 1952 campaign when he would have to run with Republicans like Senator Jenner who had called General Marshall, the chief agent of Eisenhower’s promotion, “a living lie.” I had thought that anyone so innocent as Eisenhower would be embarrassed by this comradeship and proposed to ask what he thought about what Jenner had said. It seemed cruel to spring any such trap to anyone this innocent, so I told Hagerty that I intended to ask the question.

    The time came and I asked, “General, what do you think of those people who call General Marshall a living lie.”

    He leaped to his feet and contrived the purpling of his face. How dare anyone say that about the greatest man who walks in America? He shook his finger in marvelous counterfeit of the palsy of outrage.

    He would die for George Marshall. He could barely stand to be in the room with anyone who would utter such a profanation. The moment passed when the enlisted man in garrison endures his ordeal as example to the rest of the troops; and suddenly I realized that, in his magnificent rage at me, he had been careful not to mention Senator Jenner at all.

    Afterward Hagerty took me over and the General offered the sunshine of his smile; there was not the slightest indication that he was thinking that there was anything for him to forgive or me either. It had simply been the appointed ceremony. I was too dumb to understand him then. It would be ten years before I looked at his picture and realized that the smile was always a grin.

  9. It will never be possible for me to consider as “great” any President of these United States who did as much to subjugate the states as Mr. Lincoln. Any man who could utter the words of the Gettysburg Address with a straight face, while simultaneously doing everything in his power to subvert self determination by the states only “fourscore and seven years” after the Revolution, is great only in the sense of being a great actor. His use of the slavery issue to justify the war was a masterful political stroke, but it really set the stage for the further exploitation of African Americans by the Radical Republicans through Reconstruction, and the perpetuation of such exploitation through subsequent decades culminating in the cynical identity politics practiced by today’s Democratic Party. Deified by assassination and repeated hagiography, only rarely does one encounter any honest, critical examination of his presidency.

  10. I thought U.S (or U.H.) Grant would have been in category 2 or 3. Yes, he had corruption in his administration, but I am not sure it was worse than contemporaries. He did fight the second American Civil War. He fought the KKK into submission, weakening it until the Wilson administration. He oversaw the reconstruction and reintroduction of the Southern States (not as simple as it sounds?). Under Grant, the 15th Amendment war ratified and the Department of Justice was created. In his administration, people of African descent were not only free, but could become citizens. He pushed for the Force acts to fight against the Reedemers and the KKK, who were against Republican rule in the country and prevented people from voting Republican in the South. Military force was required to subdue them. Grant also somewhat successfully pushed for equal rights for women (a few bills got through).

    It seemed like Grant was mostly occupied with bringing the Southern states back into the union while trying to enforce the rights of black residents. The Force Acts were required because the DOJ was overwhelmed with KKK cases and the number of troops Grant could mobilize to help them were inadequate. There were at least 1500 black elected officeholders in the South during Reconstruction and this continued until the revitalization of the KKK during the Wilson administration.

    I feel these were big accomplishments and, in my mind, explain why Grant was not really successful in other areas of his Presidency. That is why I would have put him in 2, or you could argue for 3, depending on your point of view. I think he did better than this list suggests.

    As for Trump, I might put him in #7. I think a good case can be made that he has not been allowed to have the full authority of his office yet. He has basically been under impeachment investigations since before he took office. Federal agencies apparently spied on him as a candidate and actively surveilled his administration, going so far as to give fake ‘briefings’ to the president to judge the response of Trump and his advisors and filing interrogation reports about the ‘briefing’ with their superiors. He is supposed to be the head of the executive branch, but that branch has been in open rebellion against his since day 1. The judiciary has also claimed authority over the executive branch like never before in the history of the presidency. Since when has another president required the unanimous approval of every single federal judge to rescind and Executive Order? When has a federal judge ever demanded that a President must renew an Executive Order? Who thinks President Trump has been in charge of the FBI? The DOJ? The CIA? As Lt. Col. Vindman well said, Trump wanted a policy that was against the ‘interagency consensus’, so he needs to be removed from office for that. When has a Lt. Col. ever claimed, in Congressional testimony, that a President should be removed because the Lt. Col. felt HIS idea was better than the President’s? I would suggest that President Trump has not even been allowed to be President yet.

    • I agree with that assessment, MR, and increasingly, so do historians. The recent biographies of Grant significantly debunk the old conventional wisdom that Grant was a failure. Schlesinger, as usual, led the way, and in his eyes, any GOP President was automatically docked two levels. All anyone focused on then were the scandals, even though nobody alleges that Grant was involved. HUG (his real initials) was a gifted and natural leader, but he was also a political naif, too trusting by nature, and an old softie. Many took advantage of Grant’s yummy caramel center, and that was a weakness.

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