Straight Talk from Al Jacobs
U.S. LEADERSHIP IN PERSPECTIVE
Although my writings normally concentrate on financial matters, the current donnybrook over comments by President Donald Trump, concerning a pair of nations whose citizens are immigrating into the United States, is too controversial to be ignored. Sorry, but you’ll have to wait until next week to find out whether our economy is set to implode or explode.
There can be no denying President Trump’s recent uncomplimentary characterization of the nations of Haiti and El Salvador – irrespective of whether accurate or not – was indiscreet and clearly unpresidential. The claim by some of his detractors, however, that such conduct constitutes an impeachable offense is far off the mark. The presumption that such a crass remark, obviously uttered while the President’s brain was not in gear, might be interpreted as a high crime or misdemeanor will never fly.
To put the quality our nation’s stewardship in clearer perspective, you must recognize that over the centuries the leaders of some of the world’s most prominent empires exhibited qualities less than commendable. The reigns of the Roman Emperors Caligula (37-41 A.D.) and Nero (54-68 A.D.) were characterized by cruelty and terrorism, with both dying violently at the hands of their intended victims. By contrast, the Trump administration is a model of decorum. In a more recent era, during the monarchy of England’s George III (1760-1820), the king regularly displayed bouts of insanity, with his final 9 years of tenure relegated to mental confinement. Not even Donald Trump’s harshest opponents try to personify him in any such fashion, with perhaps the most unfavorable comment on his mental state being the rumor his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, refers to him as a “moron.” And as to whether his age, now 71, may be a deleterious factor, we might relate this to Germany’s President Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934), who served in that position, while severely senile, until his death at 86. By comparison, Donald Trump is youthful and vigorous.
A final word: As you see, in historical perspective President Trump is functioning more or less competently. It’s unlikely those partisan critics who claim he’s unfit for the job would have, a full century ago, suggested the same thing of then President Woodrow Wilson, who spent the final 17 months of his presidency semi-comatose.