President Donald Trump has this single positive value; he makes previous occupants of the Oval Office look good by comparison. Clearly he is the worst chief executive in history. But most of those who voted for him the first time would vote for him again, despite an approval rate that varies from about 38 percent to 44 percent.
Governor, and later president, Bill Clinton was accused of forcing sexual favors from a woman that worked for him, a claim he denied. As president he did have a consensual affair with Monica Lewinsky, which he also denied. He was impeached by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate on the basis that his crimes did not rise to the constitutional level of "high crimes and misdemeanors."
Well before his election, Trump boasted of sexually abusing women under his supervision by grabbing their personal parts. His constituents voted for him despite — or in some cases perhaps because of — these sophomoric boasts. He also boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in full view and his voters would still vote for him.
Richard Nixon's administration attempted to cover up its role in the theft of campaign information from the Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate complex. The Trump campaign used data from the internet hacking of the Democratic Party headquarters that were published by Wikileaks. When his opponent Hillary Clinton was found to have improperly used a personal email server, Trump publicly asked the Russians to hack it to see if there were any additional classified documents among the 200,000 or so emails that had been deleted by her staff. In other words, he sought to expose classified documents to the Russians in order to gain a political advantage. He later said the request was a joke, but one doesn't jest about national security.
Later, in one of his buddy-buddy meetings with Russian officials, he let slip classified information that had been obtained by an allied nation's intelligence service, thus putting the secret source of that information at grave risk and causing some allies to be cautious about sharing information with American intelligence agencies.
In his first foreign tour as president, he cozied up with Middle East dictators and publicly rebuked NATO allies for not spending enough on defense. The message was necessary, but the public shaming was not. More seriously, he failed to reaffirm NATO Article 5, which provides for mutual defense in times of threat from, in particular, Russia. Clearly he prefers autocrats from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Philippines to our allies of 70 years in NATO.
The tangled web of financial and personal relationships between Trump, his family and his present and former staff with our probable enemy Russia has not been fully exposed, but the information discovered thus far is not reassuring.
The unwarranted and unhelpful withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord satisfies one of the favorite myths of true blue Republicans but transfers to individual states responsibility for creating and enforcing adequate climate control regulations. Four states have already pledged to create such regulations and 80 mayors have signed a letter to the president asking for retention of our existing national climate control regulations.
Our withdrawal from the Paris Accord puts us in doubtful company, with Nicaragua, which actually wanted stronger climate protection control; with Syria, where the local climate includes chlorine gas dumped on innocent adults and babies; and, of course, with North Korea.
Another area where state action is made necessary is agricultural regulations to replace federal regulations that formerly protected our food supply from contamination by pesticides. In the meantime, buy organic where possible.
The relationship between Trump and his party reminds one of the child who at an early age shows dangerous symptoms of mental derangement, picking fights on the school bus, bullying others and talking about killing people, but his parents refuse to see his faults or get him help. Trump is the child, and his supporters are in the role of parents blinded by love.
Are the Democrats without fault? Heavens no. But I am reminded of the old story about the love-struck suitor who was constantly rejected by his intended. In frustration he asks, "Darling, is there someone else?" She responds, "Oh there must be!"
Is there a better president available? There must be, Democrat, Republican or whatever. The sooner the better.
John Culleton writes every other Tuesday from Eldersburg. Reach him at email@example.com.