With the continuing hysteria about Donald Trump’s presidency, a few questions come to mind. The first: Can a bad man become a good president? The second: Does one’s being a good man guarantee he’ll be a good president? Third: Does having a good president require a good man? Is there any evidence of Lord Acton’s argument that “great men are almost always bad men”?
I think former President Jimmy Carter was a good man who became a weak and bad president, both in domestic matters and in foreign affairs. President Bill Clinton was a bad man who became a reasonably good president in domestic and foreign matters. But then there was that impeachment issue that greatly tarnished his presidency.
What about our current president? I think Trump’s personal behavior prior to his presidency is not something we’d call high character. We might put him down as a bad man, but what about his presidency? I think that he’d qualify for this description: a bad man but good president. The average reader might ask, “Williams, what’s your evidence?” In a recent letter to me, Stephen Moore, a George Mason University graduate and a distinguished visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation, put together a list of President Trump’s achievements. I recognize the possibility that they will be seen as horrible, maybe treasonous, by the nation’s leftists.
Trump has appointed Neil Gorsuch and nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Both men have stellar judicial qualifications and a deep respect for the U.S. Constitution. In addition, Trump has nominated more than two dozen lower court judges who have similar respect for our Constitution and are not likely to make laws from the bench.