It’s become almost de rigueur at this moment in time to note that President Donald Trump is the least presidential president who has ever presidented.
From the campaign he ran to get to the White House to how he he acted since arriving there 395 days ago, Trump seems to take pride in dashing expectations of how a president should act, speak or tweet. He views his election as a middle finger from the Average Joe or Jane to the “elites” – political, media, etc. – and seems to take as his guiding light a healthy disrespect for even the idea of being “presidential.”
While this un-presidential phenomenon is nothing new, Trump seemed to take it to new – and dangerous – heights over the long Presidents Day weekend. Cooped up at Mar-a-Lago – Trump didn’t play golf either Saturday or Sunday out of concern for how it might look when funerals were ongoing for the victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida – Trump reportedly was fuming at the coverage of the indictments of 13 Russians by special counsel Bob Mueller. And when he fumes, bad stuff happens.
Here’s a quick whip-around of all the un-presidential things Trump tweeted this weekend – in reverse chronological order. I rated each one by its magnitude of unpresidentialness with 1 being President Abraham Lincoln. and 10 being Presidents Beavis and Butt-Head.
1. “Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!”
Context: Winfrey was on “60 Minutes” doing a segment with a focus group of Michigan voters – seven Trump voters, seven who did not vote for him – talking about their impressions of Trump.
Unpresidential rating: 7. Imagine George W. Bush tweeting this. Or Barack Obama. Or, well, any president. Also, it sort of seems like Trump is blaming Oprah for the fact that some people said nasty things about him?
2. “Thank you to KenStarr, former Independent Counsel, Whitewater, for your insight and powerful words on FISA abuse, Russian meddling etc. Really great interview with @MariaBartiromo”
Context: Starr did an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday in which he noted that the latest Mueller indictment made clear that there had been no knowing collusion with Trump campaign officials. Starr also took a shot at “senior officials” of the US government in regard to leaking the goings-on of the FISA court.
Unpresidential rating: 3. Yes, Trump was watching TV even though he has long maintained that he very rarely has time to do that because he so busy reading “documents.” And, yes, he only liked what Starr said because it aligned with his belief that this whole Russia investigation is a red herring for a clueless Justice Department that is missing the real story of Hillary Clinton’s crime(s). Still, for Trump, this was nothing close to the least presidential thing he tweeted this weekend.
3. “The Fake News of big ratings loser CNN”
Context: Trump linked here to a pro-Trump Twitter handle that showed a cartoon of an aged Wolf Blitzer in the year 2038 saying: “Update! We should see evidence of Russia-Trump collusion any day now.” (I actually wasn’t able to see this tweet because the “rrealdjtrump” has blocked me!) This same Twitter handle also tweeted a cartoon featuring Hillary Clinton in blackface during the 2016 election.
Unpresidential rating: 8. This is a total troll move that lots and lots of conservatives on Twitter would do. But none of them are the President of the United States. Best case scenario: Trump was unaware of the cartoonist’s controversial past. Worst case scenario: He was totally aware of it.
4. “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the US then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”
Context: Trump views the investigations into Russia’s attempted meddling in the 2016 election as a political witch hunt driven by people who simply can’t accept that he won the election fair and square.
Unpresidential rating: 9. “They are laughing their asses off in Moscow.” ‘Nuff said.
5. “Now that Adam Schiff is starting to blame President Obama for Russian meddling in the election, he is probably doing so as yet another excuse that the Democrats, lead by their fearless leader, Crooked Hillary Clinton, lost the 2016 election. But wasn’t I a great candidate?”
Context: In the indictment of the 13 Russian nationals filed by Mueller on Friday, the claim is made that Russians began plotting their election interference in 2014 – when Obama was still president.
Unpresidential rating: 5. The election ended more than 400 days ago. Trump won. Also, the neediness of “wasn’t I a great candidate” is crushing.
6. “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia - it never did!”
Context: He did.
Unpresidential rating: 6. Trump’s re-writing of history is a feature, not a glitch, of his personality. Still, we normally expect our presidents to, you know, try to tell the truth?
7. “Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!”
Context: See #5.
Unpresidential ranking: 4. Name-calling isn’t usually the purview of presidents. And Trump is over-using “liddle” and “little” to demean people of late. But when compared to all of other stuff Trump tweeted just this weekend?
8. “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!”
Context: In Germany on Saturday, McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, said that it was now “really incontrovertible” that the Russians had engaged in a broad and deep scheme to influence the 2016 election.
Unpresidential rating: 10. Attacking your own national security adviser for stating something that your intelligence community has unanimously stated for the past year? Check! Engaging in a series of short-hand references to half-baked conspiracies about your opponent in the 2016 election? Check! This one has it all!
9. “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”
Context: In the wake of the news Friday that the FBI had failed to check out a specific tip about the Parkdale shooter, Trump is suggesting here that the Bureau was distracted by its pointless Russia investigation
Unpresidential rating: 10. Back to back (im)perfect scores! Consider that even as funerals are taking place, Trump is using the murders of 17 people to further an argument about how the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling is wrong-headed and a waste of time.