The worst president ever

Dozens of sources provide similar accounts, but this WaPo story is especially vivid:

Senior Trump administration officials considered resigning en masse last year in a “midnight self-massacre” to sound a public alarm about President Trump’s conduct, but rejected the idea because they believed it would further destabilize an already teetering government, according to a new book by an unnamed author. . . .

The author — who first captured attention in 2018 as the unidentified author of a New York Times opinion column — describes Trump careening from one self-inflicted crisis to the next, “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.” . . .

“It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him,” the author writes. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time. Only your uncle probably wouldn’t do it every single day, his words aren’t broadcast to the public, and he doesn’t have to lead the US government once he puts his pants on.”

The book depicts Trump as making misogynistic and racist comments behind the scenes. . . .

The author alleges that Trump attempted a Hispanic accent during an Oval Office meeting to complain about migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We get these women coming in with like seven children,” Trump said, according to the book. “They are saying, ‘Oh, please help! My husband left me!’ They are useless. They don’t do anything for our country. At least if they came in with a husband we could put him in the fields to pick corn or something.”

I said this about Trump from the beginning, back when people told me that a person couldn’t possibly become a billionaire if they were an idiot. People will of course deny this anonymous account, but since Trump seems the same way in public, I’m inclined to accept it.

Look for Trump to be re-elected in 2020 during a period of very low unemployment, even as he loses the popular vote by millions.

Why?  Because of the dysfunctional Democrats.



30 Responses to “The worst president ever”

  1. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    8. November 2019 at 16:04

    Trump may have the worst personality of any president to date (although some might say LBJ is a contender) but he is not the worst president by a long shot.

    In recent history we had President Bush Jr entangle the US into two fantastically expensive yet counterproductive wars, with the added benefit of oceans of human misery, carnage and dislocation.

    President Nixon left behind hundreds of millions of cluster bombs in Laos among many other misdeeds, including accepting cash payoffs from the Mafia to let Jimmy Hoffa out of prison.

    Compared to those two of his predecessors, Trump is nothing more than comic relief.

    BTW from the Mises Institute:

    “When the Fed made a show of resistance [in 1965], Johnson summoned William McChesney Martin, the Fed chairman, to his Texas ranch and physically shoved him around his living room, yelling in his face, ‘Boys are dying in Vietnam, and Bill Martin doesn’t care.'”

    Those were the days!

    To date, Trump has not bitch-slapped Powell around.

    Nixon? Bush jr.? LBJ? I will take Trump any day.

    Trump actually seems to want to avoid foreign military entanglements, not a minor virtue.

  2. Gravatar of John Arthur John Arthur
    8. November 2019 at 16:15

    Worst President Ever?
    Perhaps the dumbest, but I dont think he is the worst…

  3. Gravatar of John Arthur John Arthur
    8. November 2019 at 16:29

    With respect to dysfunctional Democrats, I somewhat agree, but haven’t they done really well as of late.
    I’m guessing is that Elizabeth Warren will win the nomination, Trump will beat her, but Democrats will retain control of the House and Republicans the Senate.

    Immigration is a benefit as long as their crime rates are low.
    Homicide rates of Hispanics are twice that of Whites, though they are dramatically poorer. Africans have 8 times the homicide rate of Whites, but poverty adjustment would almost certainly not help here.
    Scott, you really need to reconsider your views on immigration.
    Hispanics are good folk, but their poverty hurts us in the short term. Turn off the tap and let them Americanize.

  4. Gravatar of Covey Covey
    8. November 2019 at 17:22

    In Bloomberg we trust

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. November 2019 at 21:38

    John, You said:

    “Homicide rates of Hispanics are twice that of Whites”

    Personally, I find it really offensive when people equate “white” with Americans and “Hispanic” with immigrants.

  6. Gravatar of John Arthur John Arthur
    9. November 2019 at 06:15

    Scott, I think you misinterpreted my argument.
    With the collapse in Hispanic fertility, the growth in the Hispanic population is now due entirely to immigration. Since many Hispanics are working poor, and many come from disadvantaged neighborhoods, this can cause fiscal and socioeconomic problems. Hispanics in my home state of TX have crime rates lower than Whites, but in California and New York this is not true, as well as for the country as a whole. The problems with the Hispanic population can be allievated by stopping their immigration and letting them Americanize, I.E Assimilate.
    We should be importing a more limited amount of people, and import people who will do better than the White population(the majority), the moment they come here.

  7. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    9. November 2019 at 07:51

    Lets first agree that it is impossible for a Trump supporter and a Trump opponent to ever agree on even the most basic grounds for disagreement. For example, I don’t believe the article you quoted is true. In other words, I do not believe a “midnight self massacre” almost occurred. Why? Unnamed sources, and after 3 years one would expect we would have seen much worse. Not only do I not think I can persuade you of my view, I actually do not want to. And I expect the same from you.

    We each live in different worlds in the sense that we are predisposed to view certain things as “obvious”——my best friend for life besides my wife completely agrees with you——so we still “argue”—-but it is pointless——and we just do it to do it. We just use each other to express our disgust with each other’s views—-after all, what are best friends for if we cannot at least do that?

    One miraculous outcome of you being right that he is the worst president ever, is that we do not have the worst economic conditions ever, or the worst foreign conflicts ever. Another miraculous outcome is 90% of his party support him——which is amazing for a worst president ever. My friend says we will see in the future results of him having been the worst president ever, but his heart is not really strong in that conviction.

    Which does raise the obvious question. What would the “best” President ever look like? Who is that person? Who is the second worst president ever? One thing you have been consistent about is not linking “the worst president ever” to any predicted outcomes.

    It seems pretty clear that the worst president ever should have some ability to cause outcomes to be horrible. What about the “Resistance”? Do we have the worst opposition party ever, who started the plan to impeach him 3 years ago? Maybe they balance out.

    So he is the worst——does it matter? Think of all the predictions that were not true. Why was Krugman wrong? Is he the worst forecaster ever?

  8. Gravatar of Joe3 Joe3
    9. November 2019 at 09:35


    The author alleges that Trump attempted a Hispanic accent during an Oval Office meeting to complain about migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

    “We get these women coming in with like seven children,” Trump said, according to the book. “They are saying, ‘Oh, please help! My husband left me!’ They are useless. They don’t do anything for our country. At least if they came in with a husband we could put him in the fields to pick corn or something.”

    Leaving aside the obnoxiousness of the accent, isn’t there a point that we shouldn’t allow women and children in alone because of the sheer costs associated with keeping them?

    And these people seems to vote democrat. Why would the GOP support vote hoarding by the other side?

  9. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    9. November 2019 at 10:03

    “Why? Because of the dysfunctional Democrats.”

    I think the Democratic primary voters might come to their senses and nominate either Biden or Bloomberg, resulting in a landslide victory over Trump.

    But if they go with an extremist like Warren or Sanders, it’ll be a close call, probably a narrow victory for Trump.

  10. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    9. November 2019 at 10:16


    You’re being way too negative about Democrats and it’s way too early in the race to draw firm conclusions.

    I will give you that Warren has significantly hurt her chances in a general election with her evasiveness under fire in the last debate and her botched Medicare for All plan and rollout. She’s revealed she’s not good on the politics of her biggest issue and she will be extremely vulnerable to Republican attacks in a general election. Trump will brand her as “Pocahontas”, the identity politics phony with the communist healthcare plan and pushing largest tax increase in history. She’s chosen not to be a serious candidate, such that even former Obama administration economists are mercilessly attacking her unrealistic and otherwise stupid plans. Summers leads the charge, but he won’t dent her support, because he’s considered evil by progressives anyway.

    But, there is a tiny Ray of hope poking through the clouds. Buttigieg is rising in Iowa, and to a more limited extent in New Hampshire. I think he’s the most politically talented candidate in the race, and the smartest. He’s also the most articulate. He comes across as credible, but it’s definitely not from Washington. He’s raised a lot more money than Biden and almost everyone else.

    My money’s on him to win the nomination, though he has a hill to climb with minority voters. As it stands now, he’s annoying his competitors with his superior political acumen.

    I think he’s the Bill Clinton/Barrack Obama of this primary. I also think he will contrast well with Trump in a general. He’s not risk-free, to be sure. I’m concerned about African-American turnout, for a example, but he is very talented.

  11. Gravatar of Brian Brian
    9. November 2019 at 12:39

    Benjamin you wrote “Trump actually seems to want to avoid foreign military entanglements, not a minor virtue.”

  12. Gravatar of Brian Brian
    9. November 2019 at 12:42

    Benjamin you wrote “Trump actually seems to want to avoid foreign military entanglements, not a minor virtue.”

    It may be a virtue but I would discount that it is from wisdom but more from sensing the public mood and for that I would not assign much credit.

  13. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    9. November 2019 at 16:09

    The fact that Sen. Warren has announced that her Administration would wage economic war against flyover country helps The Donald’s re-election chances.

  14. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    9. November 2019 at 16:13

    That eliminating fracking would dramatically empower misogynist and authoritarian regimes apparently doesn’t count. Even though Sen. Warren tells us that Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people’ are the backbone of our democracy.

    The Donald is unfit and unskilled to be President, but he is not adopting policies and postures that are barking mad.

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. November 2019 at 17:05

    John, No, I understand exactly what you were doing. You were comparing Hispanic crime rates to white crime rates with the implicit assumption that “whites” represent native born Americans. The implicit assumption is that these Hispanic “immigrants” have a higher crime rate. But that’s not true. The white crime rate is not the native born crime rate; most blacks are also native born. And the Hispanic crime rate is not the Hispanic immigrant crime rate. For instance, Puerto Ricans are native born. Check out the murder rate in El Paso, which is overwhelmingly Mexican-American. It’s the second lowest murder rate of any big city in America. Then look at Puerto Rican areas of NYC. I live in heavily Hispanic Orange County, and it has a very low crime rate.

    White people don’t matter. If you want to talk about native born and immigrants that’s fine, but don’t talk about white people as if they are native born Americans.

    Michael, Yes, we live in different worlds. For instance, I know that Trump lies almost every time he opens his mouth, but his supporters don’t see that. Two different worlds.

    You said:

    “It seems pretty clear that the worst president ever should have some ability to cause outcomes to be horrible.”

    In the short run, President have very little impact on the economy, war and peace, etc. Over a longer period of time, nationalistic authoritarian populist demagogues produce bad outcomes. Hopefully we go back to normal after Trump.

    I notice that Trump supporters who use the “outcomes” argue are often the same sort of Republicans who think Clinton was a bad president. (Not necessarily you.)

    Joe3, Both parties used to agree that we should let them in if they are legitimate refugees, and not otherwise.

    Lorenzo, Stopping fracking and ending nuclear power would greatly help coal country.

  16. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    10. November 2019 at 05:08

    Scott—-I have learned one thing about American History thru the last 3 years or so. All impeachment’s were inherently and purely political. For some reason I had always believed the Andrew Johnson impeachment was different—-I must have thought the 19th century ended when Lincoln was shot. The Johnson impeachment was pure politics—-Nixon walked into a buzz saw.—-He should have seen it coming—-but pure politics and stupidity. Clinton of course was pure politics, and is most like today in its inanity.

    I did find a great essay written in 2001, summarizing what most elite (GOP and DEM). thought of Reagan. It was terrific. As bad as Trump, arguably worse.

    I don’t recall you being for Impeachment—-my guess is you are not—-but looking at presidents who had “special prosecutors” is a good reminder of how the mental political wall is thick and hard to penetrate. Worthy of study in its own right. And we have had lots of non normal——in fact, what is normal? The 50s?

  17. Gravatar of Jesse D. Jesse D.
    10. November 2019 at 14:15

    Scott, I don’t understand your closing line.

    You refute your own point in the previous statement. First, incumbents have a huge advantage in our system. And that is further influenced by a strong economy. That has nothing to do with the quality of the opponents. Second, you are already expecting that the Democrat is going to earn “millions” more votes than Trump.

    The Democrats may be “dysfunctional.” Perhaps they are not, collectively, tacking sufficiently to the center. Or at least not yet. But the evidence you are citing does not support your claim. If the opposition party overcomes the incumbent advantage, particularly during a period of economic growth, and gains “millions” more votes over someone who is manifestly unqualified and unpopular, and yet still loses, doesn’t that attest instead to the “dysfunction” of our electoral system?

  18. Gravatar of BC BC
    10. November 2019 at 14:38

    @Sandifer: “Summers leads the charge, but he won’t dent her support, because he’s considered evil by progressives anyway.”

    That’s the source of dysfunction, that progressive activists won’t allow candidates to incorporate rational thoughts, ideas, and criticisms. The issue is not that Warren and Sanders have taken crazy positions. It’s that the candidates with the crazy positions are the ones with the support. If Warren’s positions were closer to that of Buttigieg and Klobuchar, then so would her poll numbers be. You yourself say that Buttigieg is the “most politically talented.” Then, the same positions held by a less talented and charasmatic politician like Warren would garner even less support than Buttigieg has. (What is political talent other than ability to gain more support than would otherwise be gained by a politician of average talent holding identical positions?) The progressive activists won’t let a sane, rational candidate get the nomination.

  19. Gravatar of Arilando Arilando
    10. November 2019 at 18:10

    If Trump really said that he’s based as fuck.

  20. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    10. November 2019 at 23:46


    You raise a good point, but that Buttigieg is rising in Iowa is telling. If he does well in the caucus there, then he’s done well with a lot of activists in the state. He’s raised the second most money, and, if the political insiders I’ve heard are correct, he has the best organization in the early states.

    Also, while this year might be different, Democrats have chosen moderate Presidential candidates for decades now. Most Democrats are not Warren or Sanders progressive, but are more centrist. Nationally, the centrists and progressives are polling pretty evenly, and if Sanders goes the distance, Warren could have a problem getting enough support to win the nomination.

    Sanders has a decent floor, but a low ceiling, and he has a very cult-like following. Warren could have trouble stealing a lot of support from Sanders. My guess is that they would cut a deal of some kind if it came down to it, but who knows what Sanders will do?

    Further, to the degree Bloomberg gets in and makes a splash, I think it helps Buttigieg. You’ll have two very old, very establishment guys versus the young, sharp upstart. The behavorial economics suggests that more similar candidates boosts the one with more differences, ceteris paribus.

    The biggest danger to Buttigieg, to me, is that police scandal in South Bend and his less than satisfactory handling of it so far. A lack of minority support could doom him in the primary. Even if he gets enough minority support to win the primary, he might not have enough to win the general election.

  21. Gravatar of P Burgos P Burgos
    11. November 2019 at 00:59

    Presidents don’t technically have the power under the constitution to willy nilly start a war, but recent history suggests that they don’t have to work too hard to start a war when they want to. Trump could have started a war with North Korea, Iran, or sent a lot of US troops into Syria. Anyone who was President could have done that. So I disagree that Presidents cannot very quickly have negative consequences for the US.

  22. Gravatar of derek derek
    11. November 2019 at 06:47

    The question about worst ever is whether Trump would have blundered as badly as Bush W or some others who presided over extremely bad outcomes. Trump had the good fortune to inherit a stable economic expansion and really no major world conflicts. Do we really think that Trump would have been able to navigate the aftermath of the 2008/2009 crisis very well or that he would not have made as many of Bush’s missteps in Iraq? It may be that Bush and his administration were uniquely suited to create the Iraq disaster (Cheney, Bush’s psychodrama over his father’s involvement in the 90s, Bush’s willingness to cow before neocon bellicosity, etc.), but I don’t think I buy that Trump would have magically done a great job post-9/11. Or maybe we want to believe that Trump would have successfully lobbied the Fed for stronger, more effective action in 2008/2009, but now we have to give Trump the benefit of the hindsight that we all have in hypothesizing his 2008 presidency: everyone knows Bernanke (well, the Fed board that held him back and the Congress that held him back definitely contributed too!) screwed up now, but not very many people not reading this blog knew that back then.

    And if we are going by what happened while a president was presiding, Obama certainly seemed to manage border security and immigration better, which is kind of funny. Even given current conditions, probably anyone besides Trump would be more effective at border security since his approach and toxicity has made it difficult for other politicians to support border policies that would have been widely palatable a decade ago.

    Anyway, it’s hard to answer all of this and come up with the answer that Trump is definitely the worst, but it’s also not that easy to come up with the answer that he is not definitely the worst, so that is definitely saying something.

  23. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    11. November 2019 at 07:51


    Thought you might like this:

    Donald Trump Jr. rushed off stage 20 minutes into a book tour speaking event, after being booed and drowned out by segments of the right after saying there would be no Q&A.

    To give a bit more background than the article, some antisemites who would be Trump supporters think Trump is in fact being controlled by Jewish globalists. They cite the fact that Trump’s son-in-law is Jewish and Trump’s strong support for Israel.

    Also, some white nationalists don’t think Trump is nearly anti-immigrant enough, wanting to cut off all immigration, as the article mentions.

    Trump may ultimately end up inside this tiger, if he lasts long enough.

  24. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    11. November 2019 at 09:45

    @Michael Sandifer: You’re whistling past the graveyard. I want Trump to lose the election, but the Dems are going to f it up. Obviously there’s time for sanity to return but no real reason it will.

    Bloomberg is a problem too, he won’t get nominated, he will draw support from Biden, and then when he sees he can’t win the Dem nomination he may well run as a third part candidate and truly screw the Dems.

    They will hold the House so we will have 4 more years of nothing getting done and Trump going crazy (and not having to worry about re-election) and the polity getting even more f’ed up.

    I’m very pessimistic about politics, it’s embarrassing to be an American right now. Got nothing to do with Hillary, she’s gone. The current state is what happens when partisanship goes off the rails.

  25. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    11. November 2019 at 12:11


    Bloomberg has said he will not run a third party campaign. Everything else you said might be right, but it’s way too early to draw conclusions. The first actual vote hasn’t even occurred yet.

  26. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    11. November 2019 at 12:31


    People say a lot of things. Didn’t he say he wouldn’t run at all this year?

    I wish I had your optimism but the Dems are really blowing it.

  27. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    11. November 2019 at 14:47

    ” Lorenzo, Stopping fracking and ending nuclear power would greatly help coal country.” If the logic of the position was not coal is evil too. Not exactly a reliable reed to lean on.

    It would also drive up gasoline prices, and it is not hard to see which part of the US would be more adversely affected by that.

    As an aside, it would also encourage more US entanglement in the Middle East, which both fracking and nuclear power discourage.

  28. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    11. November 2019 at 17:19


    Bloomberg has acknowledged before that not only would a third party candidacy from him help Trump, but it’s very expensive and otherwise difficult to even get on the ballot in 50 states as an independent. I think he’s smart enough to know he has no shot as a third party candidate.

  29. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    12. November 2019 at 09:05


    OK, that makes sense. Still, he has no chance of getting the Dem nomination. So unless Warren credibly tacks center in the general (good luck with that), and somehow starts making up the HUGE fundraising gap with Trump, the Dems are toast. Not likely to be a recession to save them.

  30. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    12. November 2019 at 23:24


    You’re assuming Warren will win the nomination, but statistically, there’s a 3-way tie for the lead in Iowa polls. Buttigieg and Biden are tied with Warren.

    I don’t know who’ll win the nomination, but if Buttigieg wins Iowa, or comes close, it could boost him in some of the primaries that follow. I wouldn’t bet against this guy. He’s really good.

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