‘Worst president’ US has ever had: Is Rep. Kinzinger right about Trump?

John Berman Twitter/ CNN Interview

Fact Box

  • On February 7, 2022, in an interview with CNN’s New Day, Rep. Adam Kinzinger expressed that Donald Trump was the “worst president the United States of America ever had” when asked how he would explain the former president to his son. He added, “He was a liar and a charlatan. And he was a man with a more fragile ego than anybody I’ve ever met.”
  • Both Republicans, Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, were “censured” by the Republican National Committee on February 4, 2022 for their work with the January 6 Capitol Hill Insurrection investigation. A statement from the censure document noted “that they support Democrat efforts to destroy President Trump more than they support winning back a Republican majority in 2022.”
  • President Trump started his presidency with a 45% approval rating and left office with a 34% rating
  • In the Presidential Historians Survey 2021, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were the top rated presidents, while Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan ranked last. Barack Obama was in 10th place and Donald Trump was in 41st place.

Morgan (Yes)

As the only United States president to be impeached twice, former President Donald Trump doesn't have a shining reputation. In addition to inciting violence against the nation's Capital and then attempting to pardon or justify those who participated, Trump also avidly denied climate change while in office, despite blinding evidence of its existence. This revealed one of the many ways he showed more concern for big business and the rich over the average American who put their faith in him with their vote. 

Trump is responsible for spreading countless amounts of misinformation, feeding conspiracy theories relating to COVID, which drove down his own political appeal. Trump was infamous for using Twitter—the former President's favorite social media platform at the time—as his main source of communication with the nation, making things awkward when he became the first person of prominence to be permanently banned from the platform. 

Trump's actions have time and time again proved his lack of respect and concern for this country's image and the wellbeing of its citizens. Trump's lies about the supposed corruption of the 2020 presidential election led to decreased faith in the country and the voting system critical to our country's democratic republic. Trump instigated further tension between citizens during the Black Lives Matter movement by labeling peaceful BLM protests as violent, crumbling the country's unity. But Trump's presidency didn't just affect the United States. The unprofessional celebrity politician referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as 'sh*thole” countries, and his numerous comments about Mexico and Mexican immigrants certainly gave the US a bad name. While in office and even after, he left behind a rift between Americans and between America and other nations. 

Noah (No) 

There are several contenders for 'Worst President,' but President Trump's accomplishments keep him out of the running. Under Trump, unemployment hit record lows, and the market reached record highs

For the first time in nearly 70 years, the US became a net energy exporter and becoming the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas. Simultaneously, renewable energy production and consumption both reached record highs, facilitating the largest decline in carbon emissions of any country on earth. Soon after withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords, America reduced carbon emissions more than any nation.

Signing the bipartisan 'First Step Act' into law reduced the potential for a convicted criminal to reoffend, helping former inmates successfully rejoin society. The US led the defeat of ISIS, freeing nearly eight million civilians, began a coordinated withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Trump left office without any new wars.

Regarding his COVID response, Trump is responsible for giving Biden a perfectly operable vaccine and distribution plan. 'Operation Warp Speed' developed fully-functional COVID vaccines by January 2021. American companies developed two vaccines in nine months—record time, and five times faster than ever before.

Looking at the 44 Presidents prior to President Trump, there are some contenders for 'Worst President' in US history. President Roosevelt signed the order that put 120,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps, and President Jackson removed 60,000 Native Americans via the 'Trail of Tears.' More recently, President Carter saw inflation rates soar to 13.3% until the Fed raised interest rates to 20%. Then he refused to act when Iranian militants took hostages in the US embassy.

Unable to see past the seething red hate for an objectively decent President in policy, Rep. Kinzinger is wrong that President Trump is the 'worst.'

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