The writer’s grievances are that Trump refuses to listen to advisers, cannot bite his tongue, refuses to keep quiet when he says or does things others disagree with, and rants against the 1st Amendment. The president also praises dictators and insults allies, and has an “inexhaustible capacity” to fib and fabricate history.
In American Greatness, Roger Kimball argues that the issue of character and Donald Trump is highly debatable.
… there are many instances, as the public record shows, where Trump not only listened to but also heeded the counsel of his advisers. I cannot myself recall any “rants against the First Amendment,” per se. And I’d say that his “praise for dictators” was really praise for their possible good behavior or acquiescence to policies that the president thought were in our national interest. One might agree or disagree in this or that case, thinking the president ought to have said or done this instead of that. But that is my point: the issues are debatable, not settled.
As for coming up with “a definition of good character” that the president can clear, let me begin by backing into it and offering a negative definition a friend of mine offered:
- Maybe not having sex in the Oval Office with an intern.
- Maybe not weaponizing the IRS, DOJ, CIA, and FBI.
- Maybe not being impeached for lying under oath.
- Maybe not wiping clean thousands of text messages and emails under subpoena.
Mr. Kimball poses this question: What is the character that Trump’s detractors would have us champion? And what are the virtues Donald Trump lacks?
Let us grant that the president is an imperfect man, writes Mr. Kimball.
What betokens worse character: tweeting rude things or having sex with your intern in the Oval Office? What’s worse, insulting Bob Corker or using the Department of Justice and the IRS to harass and persecute your political opponents?
During last year’s Christmas season, a former WSJ writer (now writing for the NYT) took stock of Donald Trump’s long and impressive accomplishments before concluding, “I still wish Hillary Clinton were president.”
The writer’s list began with tax cuts, the effective obliteration of ISIS, and the decertification of the Iran deal and ended with the robust economy and the ascension of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. (Brett Kavanaugh was yet to come.) “What, for a conservative,” the writer asked, “is there to dislike about this policy record as the Trump administration rounds out its first year in office?”
“I don’t know anyone who voted for Donald Trump, or who later came to support him, because he thought the president was a candidate for sainthood,” writes RK.
On the contrary, people supported him, first, because of what he promised to do and, second, because of what, over the past two years, he has accomplished. These accomplishments, from rolling back the regulatory state and scores of conservative judicial appointments, from moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem to resuscitating our military, working to end Obamacare, and fighting to keep our borders secure, are not morally neutral data points. They are evidences of a political vision and of promises made and kept. They are, in short, evidences of what sort of character Donald Trump is.
Read more here.
Also read: The Inner Man? Who Cares