Our President speaks and the media goes wild. They say he is not being normal, he is not being presidential, he is not being an adult, and he is not like the previous presidents. Some say Trump has a very big ego, while others say he doesn’t have a big ego. In fact, they say he operates at the id level and then they make wild comments that are not thought through, at all. The self-proclaimed intellectual elite folks do not seem to understand the super ego and how it operates with the id and ego.
Some say President Trump does not bond with human kind, however he garnered sufficient votes to become president. He must bond with more than a few. Others say he is a very suspicious loner who has convinced himself that he has little need for advisers. However, he built a vast empire that was in the business of constructing hotels and golf course, as well as operating those entities. The management structure of those business activities included many successful lieutenants providing advice and counsel, all while performing their own respective management duties. So, it seems President Trump has managed with advisors and he can delegate at the same time. He does not seem to be a micro manager. He seems to understand how to manage by observation, understanding, and communication. Trump also seems to be a quick study.
Oh, the comments that media and political pundits make about our president go on and on every day and with every Tweet. The media insists President Trump is different. Just how different is President Trump from other presidents?
Every president has been different. Trump does have uniqueness unto himself. Don’t we all. We are all different. There are certain protocols that all presidents adhere to and it is said that President Trump does that well and in many cases, better than most past presidents. If fact, it has been said by many that he performs the vast variety of functions quite well with a special attention to the people of the land, the citizens of America, and even more attention to those affected with one serious issue on another. Our President seems to have a great deal of compassion. Just ask those he listens to and provides some form of assistance. Yes, he is compassionate
Perhaps we should take a look back at some other presidents. Lets start with Washington. Historians have said he was a man of strong character.
George Washington: It was said; there were no gangsters before Washington. Thomas Jefferson once stated that Washington was “was naturally irritable” and that if his temper “broke its bonds, he was most tremendous in his wrath.” These outbursts were so violent that Indians began calling him “Caunotaucarius,” which translates to either “Town Destroyer” or “Devourer of Villages,” depending on how morbid you want to get. It has been said that Washington was compassionate. That’s probably correct, however very often he was demanding. Sometimes his personal interest overtook his professional duties. While trying to survive the terrible winter at Valley Forge, he spend hours writing letters home to Martha advising her how to decorate their home at Mount Vernon.
Our second president was different from out first. John Adams was a true intellectual and at the same time, he was a fiery individual with little capacity to deal with those who did not comprehend any given situation. Biographer John Ferling said, “Adams’s great failing seemed to be his volcanic temper, which could explode with such suddenness and so little provocation that some of his colleagues feared that passion occasionally eclipsed reason.” At the Continental Congress, fellow delegates liked to pick Adams’s brain, but they saw him as “Too Unstable” to be a leader. Some, who did not know him well thought he was cold, conceited, and aloof, while in his personal life he was warm and generous. After all said, most agree he was a very good president.
Then there was President, John Tyler (1841 -1845) We should not forget there has been many past presidents who make not so nice comments about women. Just think about what President John Tyler said as congressman prior to being president. He said on “open mike” in front of open session when he was talking about popularity he compared it to “a coquette—the more you woo her, the more she is apt to elude your embrace.” Later after his wife died he married a raven-haired beauty that was 30 years his junior. For the rest of his life, Tyler would brag about his sexual prowess noting for example, after the birth of their fifth child, that at least his name would not “become extinct.”
In total, President Tyler had fifteen children. Two grandsons, Lyon Gardner Tyler, Jr and Harrison Ruffin Tyler are still alive today. The president had his last child at age 75. It was said at the time he liked to mess around.
Andrew Jackson, who served for two terms, was the one fiery president who ranks high in polls taken by historians. Jackson’s nickname was “Old Hickory.” Why? It was because he used to carry a wooden stick around and just beat the hell out of people with it. Why did he do that? It was because he was a crazy person. The young Jackson liked to punch people out and raging attacks would remain a constant throughout his entire life. As one said, “He could hate with a Biblical fury and would resort to petty and vindictive acts to nurture his hatred and keep it bright and strong and ferocious.” Jackson’s strong-armed tactics led to major accomplishments as president. Seems as if he knew the “Art of The Deal” and used it forcibly, as he forged a successful administration.
Lastly, let’s look at a modern era president, Lyndon Johnson. He stared his career as a teacher but quickly turned to politics. He won his first bid for congress then lost his first try at the senate. He won his second attempt but the race was rampant with fraud. Later, he was accused of being a ruthless majority leader. While his wife Lady Bird was a strong influence, she was not able to curtail his vulgar tirades. Many say Johnson is best known for his blinding arrogance, ego, and profanity. He lived to dominate and used his crass behavior to bend people to his will. He liked to lean over people, spitting, swearing, belching, or laughing in their face. Johnson grossly bragged to other politicians about his sexual capability and prowess. His Vietnam attempts failed, but his social programs were received positively.
Before we leave the discussion on comparisons, we should make a few comments about the election process, as so many have said the election of Donald Trump was the nastiest ever. The race between President John Quincy Adams and Mr. Jackson in 1828 has been reported throughout the history of our country as the ‘ugliest’ ever held, with partisan newspaper headlines making accusations against the candidates. The two primary candidates could not have been more different. John Quincy Adams was the highly educated son of the nation’s second president and had traveled widely as a diplomat. Adams was the consummate insider.
Jackson clawed his way to success along the frontier before becoming a national hero in the Battle of New Orleans. While Adams was known for thoughtful introspection, Jackson had a reputation for violent encounters and duals. By the time the final votes were cast, both men would have wild stories circulated about their pasts, with lurid charges of murder, adultery, and procuring of women being plastered across the pages of partisan newspapers. They had faced each other before, in the election of 1824, in a nightmarish affair known as “The Corrupt Bargain” that settled the 1824 election. In the 1828 campaign Adams was attacked for being an elitist pimp who procured American girls for romantic and sexual activities for the Russian czar. Oh, that dangerous Russian connection. Jackson was accused in the “coffin handbill” of ordering the execution or murder of Army deserters.
The presidential election of 1828 was indeed a very bitter, nasty, and ugly campaign between two candidates that were very different. It even had one of those Russian connections that the media salivated over.
So, the next time you hear or read in the various news outlets that our president is different, you can respond and say; yes he is different, aren’t they all.
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Andrew Jackson Hermitage
UVA Miller Center