Trump is the pettiest president

President Trump this weekend mocked the academic record of a dead man:

@realDonaldTrump
So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) “last in his class” (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election. He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!

His criticism of McCain wasn’t just incorrect — yes, McCain took the now-infamous Steele Dossier to the FBI, but he did it after Election Day — but extraordinarily petty. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has become one of Trump’s most loyal sidekicks, felt compelled to issue a corrective of sorts.

There’s plenty of evidence, however, that the GOP is still taking its social cues from the president. While Trump was fending off criticism for his mockery of McCain, the Republican Party’s official Twitter account decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this:

Forget making America great again. Whatever else their aims, Trump and the Republican Party are doing everything they can to help the country become trifling, picayune, and small.

It’s true that our democratic can be ugly. Alexander Hamilton dueled with Aaron Burr, Grover Cleveland was exposed for fathering an illegitimate child, Richard Nixon was, well, Richard Nixon. The list of American leaders who behaved badly is long. But it’s also true that we expect our presidents — despite being the products of such a rough-and-tumble process — to be bigger than all that. And if they can’t, they should at least act bigger than that.

It’s why FDR told us we have nothing to fear but fear itself. It’s why JFK urged Americans to go to the moon and accept other big challenges “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Heck, it is even why George W. Bush visited a mosque just days after 9/11 and told the country: “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam.”

Each man had moments in his presidency when he failed to exhibit much, or any, nobility. But each had moments when he stepped up, encouraged his fellow citizens to aim higher, work harder, and extend compassion to those around them. It’s such a consistent pattern in the history of the Oval Office that many observers held out hope — long past the point of plausibility — that Trump would “pivot” into being presidential, to attempt to offer the country something bigger than his smallest self.

Instead, the president is frustratingly consistent: He seems always to take the lower road.

 

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