Donald Trump’s daily climb down

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If you can bear to do it, cast your mind back to the harrowing final days of the misbegotten presidency of Donald Trump. I’m thinking of a specific date, Wednesday, January 7th, 2021. As infamous as the previous day was, that day also has a peculiar claim to infamy of a kind.

It was the first day, in an unbroken chain of days ever since, where Donald Trump’s current day was worse than his previous. What people in the mathematical trade call monotonically decreasing. That is, always downward and never better, never static. It was a day in which Trump awoke to a complete failure, his attempted coup lay in ruins and three quarters of the world actively detested him.

During his presidency Trump had days that were, for him but certainly not America, spectacularly better than his previous day. The so-called triumphs of Donald Trump were perfectly awful for us, but were grand successes for him and his noxious MAGA base. The day of his two impeachment acquittals, and the day when he and the rest of us realised that the final effect of the Mueller Report was a colossal anticlimax, come immediately to mind. Or the day of his first State of the Union address, when even members of the mainstream media were crowing that Donald Trump had finally become, ahem, “presidential.”

But since January 6 it’s been nothing but down, down, down. To be sure, some of those downward steps have been incrementally tiny. Or maybe decrementally tiny is the better phrase. Of course, some of those downward steps have also been huge climb downs. But ever since there have been no victories for Trump, no real victories great or small, and in a world of almost daily disasters, it’s beginning to look as if there never will be.

Such is the reality of the world of Donald Trump, where these kinds of catastrophes accrete. Not only do the kind of troubles Trump has right now accumulate and get worse, the whole of his troubles are becoming worse than the sum of their parts. It’s a synergistic decline with no end in sight. Each time Trump gets bad news — a denied appeal, a colossal financial judgement in civil court, another former ally turned state’s evidence — it happens in the midst of a quagmire of 91 criminal counts across four indictments in four separate jurisdictions.

Now, Trump is making history in another way. According to the third instalment of the “Presidential Greatness Project,” an occasional survey published every five or so years, 154 historians have labelled Trump the worst president that the United States has ever seen. This revelation has to be a huge disappointment to a man who frequently self-identifies as “your favourite president.” He most emphatically isn’t that, and now it’s official.

The number one spot is occupied by Abraham Lincoln, the flagship Republican and a man Trump occasionally compares himself favourably to. In seventh place is Barack Obama and in very respectable fourteenth place — and what must be particularly galling to Trump — is Joe Biden. And dead last, at number forty-five with a bullet, lies Donald Trump.

What’s more, Andrew Jackson, a president Trump greatly admires, who served as president from 1829 to 1837, fell in the rankings by a whopping twelve places since the last such poll to number twenty-one, despite his time in office being almost 200 years ago. Could it be a case of guilt by association? Did these historians demote Jackson so breathtakingly simply because they knew Trump likes him? It’s otherwise hard to explain Jackson’s twelve-point decline any other way.

This news must be a huge ego bruise to Trump. What’s more, it’s a foretaste of how history will judge him. On some level and in his darkest moments, Trump must realise this.

History is going to make the likes of Richard Nixon and James Buchanan look like sainted statesmen next to Donald John Trump. If Trump goes to prison, he will have to contemplate history’s inevitable approbation every single day. And every day his decline will continue into infinity. It will be a fitting end to America’s most awful president. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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