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Has Trump transformed what it means to be Presidential? Show more Show less
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What makes a good President? Is it pragmatism and vision, or, something else entirely? Trump presents himself as a political outsider: his disregard for political correctness is what attracted many of his supporters. Yet, his critics see his unruly behaviour as a weakness; that it is unbecoming for a President. Has Trump changed what it means to be Presidential? The Merriam-Webster defines “presidential” as: “of, relating to, or befitting a president or a president’s authority”. But, is that what Trump means, and his supporters, refer to?

Trump has changed what acting presidential means Show more Show less

Trump is an unconventional President. Yet, his supporters consider this one of his strengths. Trump has changed the meaning and importance of acting presidential.
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Acting presidential is not necessary for being president anymore

Trump campaigned on the premise of getting deals done and putting America first. These are now the defining features of "acting Presidential".
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The Argument

After nearly four years of Trump in the White House, the standards of what is expected of a president have fallen. Furthermore, his rhetoric has inspired other politicians to speak and act like him. Trump is praised for acting presidential when he follows his script, we saw this after his State of the Union address in 2019[1]. Yet, Trump’s behaviour presents an example to follow for the rest of his party. When people vote for him despite his unconventional behaviour, they acknowledge that these qualities are acceptable in a president. His behaviour encourages others to act similarly too. We have seen this in the case of Roy Moore the ex-Alabama senator who ran for office despite allegations of sexual misconduct and assault[2]. If the president can act in an unpresidential way, others will follow suit, lowering the standards expected in our leaders.

Counter arguments

Before Trump took office there was an expectation that he would correct his behaviour once elected. We have not seen this happen, and even some of his supporters now find themselves disappointed with his behaviour[3]. So the expectation for better leadership remains.

Premises

[P1] Americans admit Trump does not act presidential. [P2] Trump supporters vote for him regardless. [P3] Acting presidential is not a requirement for being president.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.newsweek.com/cnn-host-praises-trump-presidential-state-union-1303379
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/20/roy-more-alabama-senate-launch-2020-sexual-misconduct-allegations
  3. https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2020/03/05/few-americans-express-positive-views-of-trumps-conduct-in-office/
This page was last edited on Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 14:45 UTC

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