Is America really far right?
Trump versus other US presidents: how bad is he really?
Some have lied and cheated; true saints are seldom found among past US presidents. Although: Many heads of state are revered to this day. But how can Donald Trump be judged?
His relationship to the truth is questionable at best, he does everything to get his way. His mouth is completely unbridled: He thinks of his fellow human beings with the most filthy swear words, of which the one with the "A ..." is one of the more polite. From this side the Americans had to get to know their president. No, we're not talking about Donald Trump, the 45th head of state of the USA.
Completely detached from morality, decency and, last but not least, reason, according to many US citizens, number 37 was already operating in the White House: Richard Milhous Nixon (1969–1974), who resigned his presidency in shame in August 1974 after the Watergate scandal. Just before impeachment.
Moral disaster in the White House
The mood is heated up again today: While Richard Nixon was already considered a moral catastrophe in the highest office of the state, Donald Trump has also set standards in this regard since 2017. The time to evaluate Trump's term in office is now approaching. Judging the men who ruled the White House is a downright popular sport in the United States. Who were the best? Conversely, who were the worst again?
Richard Nixon (at the desk): He was the first president in US history to step down. (Source: Courtesy Everett Collection / imago images)
In 2017, for example, after Donald Trump's election, the US broadcaster C-Span published a traditional ranking based on the judgment of numerous experts. The latter does not appear in the evaluation; it is only assessed after a term of office has expired. Nevertheless, Trump's policies can be compared with those of his predecessors - with the current man in the White House showing parallels with the worst rated. And in no way can compete with the best.
Republican Party icon
A man at the top of the respective overall ranking presides with a comfortable margin, whose monument has been a pilgrimage site for millions in Washington, D.C. since 1922. represents:Abraham Lincoln (1861–1865), 16th President of the USA and at the same time the man whose election in 1860 caused the greatest crisis the USA went through in the 19th century: the secession of the slave-holding southern states and the civil war that followed. For four years, the northern and southern states fought a bloody conflict with one another, and in the end the Union under Lincoln was victorious. And last but not least, human rights triumphed, because the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution has forbidden slavery since 1865.
From today's perspective, it's hard to imagine: Lincoln was the first US president from the ranks of the Republicans, the same party that sent Donald Trump to the White House in 2017. Which, in turn, squirms with all his might so as not to have to distance himself too much from right-wing extremists in the USA. And he continues to incite against minorities, most recently against Latinos and Afro-Americans, as the historian Stephan Bierling describes in his book "America First".
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Like Lincoln, many other former White House residents would probably be amazed at the political swing to the far right the Republicans have now made. Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909) for example, after the first President of the USA, George Washington (1789–1797) placed fourth in the C-Span ranking, followed a tough course in foreign policy, but was popular internally as a reformer and conservationist. In 1906 he was the first American ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating in the Russo-Japanese War.
Kim Jong Un didn't play along
Donald Trump also looked at the Nobel Peace Prize, not least because of his predecessor Barack Obama (2009-2017) was also honored with this by the Democrats. Relaxation with North Korea should be a means for Trump to become Nobel Prize-worthy. Too bad that North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un did not show the desired concession for nuclear disarmament.
As gloomy as Trump's term of office and the resulting polarization of American society appears to some observers, it is glorious for manyJohn F. Kennedy (1961–1963) remembered: a young president, handsome, married to an attractive woman, from a poorly rich family, plus a war hero ... In view of these attributes, many very religious Protestants ignored the fact that Kennedy was a Catholic . And his father Joseph had shown a little too much sympathy for the Nazis in the past.
John F. Kennedy with his wife Jacqueline: The US President was assassinated in 1963. (Source: UIG / imago images)
The Filius, on the other hand, showed shortly after taking office in 1961 that he had nerve, in the C-Span ranking he was eighth. Just a year later, Kennedy urged the Soviet Union to withdraw nuclear weapons from Cuba. Many Americans gave him credit for preventing World War III. Who was anything but happy was First Lady Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy. Her husband cheated on her every inch, Kennedy's libido seemed insatiable. By US moral standards, his behavior was inexcusable. The secret life of their president was not revealed to many Americans until after his assassination in November 1963.
Trump's demeanor and attitudes towards women, however, had become public much earlier. "You can touch it anywhere," is a sentence by the current US president from an older video from 2005 that became popular during his election campaign. The public was outraged and Trump's supporters remained loyal to him. The crisis was over.
Shattered by affairs
Such success was not always bestowed on Trump's predecessors, who were rated "poorly". Warren G. Harding (1921–1923), according to C-Span the fourth worst US president, won it through the votes of women who were allowed to vote for the first time in the USA in 1920. He saw himself as relatively incapable of exercising the office, and passed the time with numerous affairs. Some of his ministers and confidants, however, used their offices to unrestrainedly enrich themselves at the expense of the state. Harding died in 1923, after a good two years in office.
Despite all the scandals under Warren G. Harding, the red lantern is due to all US presidents James Buchanan. He came into office in 1857 when the United States needed a strong and balanced president. Buchanan was neither one nor the other. The dispute between proponents and opponents of slavery became more and more acute at that time. Buchanan, who had become president at a relatively old age at the age of 67, watched the escalation inactive until the end of his term in office in 1861.
Woodrow Wilson: The 28th US head of state is considered a great president, but Wilson was a supporter of racial segregation in the US. (Source: ZUMA Wire / imago images)
It is not so easy to judge all presidents. Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921), the democrat who led the USA to war against Germany in 1917 and who later wanted to make the world "safe for democracy", was a staunch supporter of racial segregation. Nonetheless, he is among the top 12 best US presidents.
"What Trump seems incapable of"
Richard Nixon, on the other hand, ranks in the lower midfield. That liar? Yes, because despite all the wrongdoings and his resignation (as the only head of state in US history), Nixon is not considered the bad president par excellence. In terms of foreign policy, he ended the Vietnam War for the United States, and also ensured détente with China. Domestically, he promoted environmental protection, advocated improved educational opportunities for African Americans and an end to the assimilation policy of the US authorities against the Native Americans.
In the times of Donald Trump, Nixon's resignation seems almost all the more respectable in the eyes of some Americans. "For all its gloom, all its violations of law and all its mistakes, Nixon believed in the constitution," wrote Pattie Davis, the daughter of Ronald Reagan in the Washington Post, the newspaper that once brought down Nixon. "He stepped back in shame and felt, according to all credible sources, an immense guilt - which Trump seems incapable of doing."
We shall see how Donald Trump will be rated in some time. What is certain is that Trump pushed ahead with the division rather than the unity of the Americans. We can look forward to the upcoming presidential ranking from C-Span.
Because just as the USA looks back on numerous bad presidents in its history, so also on many great ones, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933–1945), who not only stabilized the country, which had been hit by the global economic crisis, but also led the USA victoriously through the Second World War.
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