Trump’s Only Real Weakness Is His Style

Trump’s Only Real Weakness Is His Style, by Conrad Black.

In Trump’s defense, no president since Richard Nixon’s last days in office has been subjected to such malicious and widespread hostility as this one, and while most of the obloquy directed against Nixon was based on a minor felony compounded by some more-serious obstructions of consequent investigations, all imputations of possibly illegal wrongdoing by our current president have collapsed and been exposed as malicious or negligent abuse of power by sections of the Justice Department and the intelligence agencies.

History is finally beginning to record that Richard Nixon was an outstanding president who was overwhelmed by the propagation of public hysteria over trivial matters in which there is no evidence that he did anything illegal. But there was an illegal source of the problem, and, as Nixon himself acknowledged, he badly mishandled the investigation.

In general, while he could be awkward, Nixon handled a very difficult time with reasonable dignity and retired from the office with exquisite courtesy and, in horrible circumstances, considerable eloquence. FDR and JFK were always elegant; Truman, Eisenhower, and Obama never embarrassed anyone; President Clinton was marred only by the tawdriness of his peccadilloes; and LBJ, Ford, Carter, and the Bushes all had their verbal slips and minor gaucheries, but nothing seriously bothersome or embarrassing to the country.

With President Trump, his astute and effective use of social media, the only way to compensate for the wall-to-wall hostility he faces from the traditional media, requires him to be directly in front of the country much more than any other president. Some combination of deliberate tactics and the unprecedented loathing of his opponents causes anything bombastic, silly, or overly self-centered to be played up and employed to reinforce the caricature of him as a blustering, narcissistic windbag. Anyone who knows him knows this is not a fair description of him. And any fair examination of his record in office shows that these infelicities aren’t really relevant to a just evaluation of his performance.