Re: Trump’s tweets
In the criticism from both left and right of President Donald Trump’s tweets on Thursday (and what is up with his fixation on bleeding women?), a recurring admonition has been that he was behaving beneath the dignity of the office. Let’s examine that.
The first men to occupy the office were, in general, slaveholders. President Andrew Jackson caned a man on the steps of the Capitol, albeit for trying to shoot him. President Abraham Lincoln was notorious for telling stories inappropriate for the popular press. His successor, President Andrew Johnson, drank. So did President Ulysses Grant. Until the Civil Service Act of the 1880s, government jobs were largely a product of presidential patronage, especially, but not restricted to, the upper echelons. President Harry Truman, one of the most fondly remembered Presidents, once wrote to a music critic who panned Truman’s daughter’s piano performance, threatening to break his nose, blacken his eyes, and probably kick him in the genitals. In the letter, he made personal attacks on the critic and other members of the press.
How, exactly, did presidents Harding, Nixon, and Clinton uphold the dignity of the office? On the other hand, one of the most upstanding presidents, at least by his own lights, was Jimmy Carter, proving that a knave can be less destructive than a fool. Saying all that, the last words on Trump’s behavior should go to Sen. Ben Sasse, who tweeted, “Please just stop.” Pretty please, if need be.