Q&A – Where Does President Trump Rank Historically? Pt. 1

Today’s entry: Brian, we already know news media and academia won’t give President Trump credit for his successes but I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about his Presidency. Where do you think he ranks compared to past presidents?

Bottom Line: By any objective measure, President Trump was a highly successful president. The way his legacy is already widely being positioned negatively is an indication of the lack of objectivity by most news media. It’s worth noting, that like any departing president, the extent of President Trump’s impact won’t be fully quantified for a while into the future. That's especially true as he leaves office in the middle of a pandemic that crippled his record economy but which may be mitigated by his Operation Warp Speed initiative which led to record-setting vaccine developments.

Prior to rating or comparing a president’s performance, we should have perspective on what the top priorities are for our presidents. Starting with defense. The single most important function of any president is to protect and defend the country. The second priority is to aid in opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. When comparing Presidents, I think it’s important to weigh their performance accordingly. In the interest of ease of conversation, I’ll look at post-WWII presidents. Let's start with the President who aided in ending the war.

Harry Truman (7) -

  • Defense: Outstanding 5 – Dropped H-bomb and effectively ended WWII.
  • Economy: Poor 2 – Negative economic growth in four years of his administration.

Eisenhower (8)

  • Defense: Good 4 – Brokered the truce of conflict at the Korean border, mitigated the rise of Russia during the early years of the Cold War.
  • Economy: Good 4 – Despite two years of mild negative growth during his two terms, the stock market fully recovered from the Great Depression, unemployment dropped significantly, and wages rose beyond the rate of inflation.

Kennedy (9)

  • Defense: Good 4 – Supported Cuban exiles attempting to topple Fidel Castro, however, a lack of direct US intervention led to the failure of the mission and escalation of Russia’s Cold war efforts in Cuba. However, his willingness to hold the line against Russia’s nuclear efforts in Cuba were successful. Additionally, his vision for the space program later proved crucial to national defense matters.
  • Economy: Outstanding 5 – Pushed through the largest tax cuts since the onset of the federal income tax in 1913 leading to unapparelled economic prosperity during his abbreviated presidency and for years to come.

Photo By: AFP/Getty Images

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