At every turn, I deemphasize the leader and emphasize the leadership system. That is, the leader along with two other phenomena that equally pertain: 1) followers, or others; and 2) contexts within which leaders and followers necessarily interact.
But, I admit, during the brief presidency of Donald Trump, and even during the 2016 presidential campaign, it’s been difficult. It’s been difficult to take our eyes off the man striding and strutting center stage.
The media have framed our fixation. From day one Trump made great copy and so, in time, our obsession with him became total. We got to the point where coverage of this single human being “eclipsed that of any single human being ever.” Trump doesn’t simply dominate the news. He has taken up “semipermanent residence on every outlet of any kind, political or not. He is no longer just the message. In many cases he has become the medium, the ether through which all other stories flow.”*
Trump as political phenomenon is nevertheless more than mere media construct. He is, as autocrats are prone to be, a gravitational force, irresistible not only to those who like him, but to those who loathe him.
Months ago, in this space, before the November election, I described him as a messianic megalomaniac. His ascendance to the White House has not, predictably, changed anything. What we are beginning to see, though, are the crippling consequences of our electoral folly.
He has been president for just a few weeks. Still, I venture the progression previously pronounced – from bad to worse, from worse to worst. Thus, this prediction: Donald J. Trump will in time be judged the worst president in American history.
Worst every which way:
• Lack of integrity.
• Lack of transparency.
• Lack of ideology.
• Lack of strategic vision.
• Lack of contextual expertise.
• Lack of contextual intelligence.
• Lack of emotional intelligence.
• Lack of self-awareness.
• Lack of military experience.
• Lack of government experience.
• Lack of political experience.
• Lack of domestic policy knowledge.
• Lack of foreign policy knowledge.
• Lack of good judgement.
• Lack of even temperament.
• Lack of respect for the rule of law.
• Lack of respect for civil society.
• Lack of respect for historical norms.
• Lack of respect for cultural norms.
• Lack of respect for American institutions.
• Lack of inclination toward inclusion.
• Lack of inclination toward conciliation.
• Lack of various, courageous advisers.
• Lack of openness.
• Lack of decency.
• Lack of civility.
• Lack of manners.
• Lack of a loud laugh.
• Lack of a still center.
Of course as Trump is worst…the rest must be best.