If you are older than about nine or ten years old, you might remember how normal American presidents conducted themselves.
Past presidents were dignified. Past presidents were loathe to portray themselves as victims. Past presidents avoided petty arguments with political rivals, the media, late night TV talk show hosts, political commentators, Saturday Night Live and anybody else who might mildly criticize or poke fun at the president.
Past presidents didn't hold rallies to comfort themselves. Past presidents didn't whine and pout when friendly world leaders were caught mocking them. Of course friendly world leaders didn't mock our past presidents.
Past presidents didn't compliment and have cozy relationships with the world's worst despots. Past presidents didn't talk like this:
Trump on Russian President Vladimir Putin: "If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him. I've already said, he is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, ‘Oh, isn't that a terrible thing'—the man has very strong control over a country. Now, it's a very different system, and I don't happen to like the system. But certainly, in that system, he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader."
Trump on Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte: "I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem."
Trump on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "Frankly, he's getting very high marks. He's also been working with the United States. We have a great friendship and the countries—I think we're right now as close as we've ever been … a lot of that has to do with a personal relationship."
Trump on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: "We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He's done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. The United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing."
Past presidents didn't gush over "beautiful letters" they received from authoritarian leaders. Speaking of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump told reporters, "He really wrote a beautiful three-page — I mean right from top to bottom — a really beautiful letter. And maybe I'll release the results of the letter, but it was very positive."
I could go on with examples of Trump's very un-presidential behavior. We all know about Trump's constant false statements and how he keeps fact-checkers working overtime. His narcissism and inability to accept responsibility are legendary. I just hope that when kids who are younger than about nine or ten are old enough to vote, they'll know and remember how presidents used to act.
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