Study says Trump is the worst president ever

Making history: Trump ranked even worse than William H. Harrison, who caught pneumonia and died after a month.

Is the latest American president really the worst? On Monday — Presidents’ Day in the USA — a survey of political experts said ‘yes’ even though Trump has only been on the job for one year.

What’s happening

Ranking last on the ‘Overall Presidential Greatness’ scale, President Trump is not measuring up very well against the presidents of the past according to the 170 experts who responded to this year’s survey. How this greatness is measured is a matter of opinion that depends on who you ask — and when.

Find out more

The first president of the United States was George Washington, elected in 1789. Donald Trump is the 45th, voted into office last year. A presidential term lasts four years, but Trump has only served one so far. Adding him to the list bumps up former loser James Buchanan, whose failure to understand the problems with slavery led to the American Civil War in 1861.

Barack Obama, whom Trump replaced, has risen ten places and now sits at number eight. This is a reflection of how opinions can change over time. It also depends on whom you ask. Richard Nixon is ten places clear of the bottom in this survey but in 2011, when members of the public — not political experts — ranked the presidents, Nixon came last.

So is it fair to call Trump the worst?

Some say…

Absolutely not. This is only Trump’s first year. Some presidents have had strong first years, overshadowed by worse events later on; there is no reason why that cannot work in the opposite way and a shaky start lead to better things. This is only the opinion of 170 people, even if they are experts. What do the people who voted for Trump think?

Others think…

People who study politics are in a good position to judge how well a politician is doing and the results are fair. The survey asked participants to declare whether they were Republicans (who support Trump), Democrats (who do not) or neutral. Even the people who agree with Trump’s political opinions did not rate his presidency very well so far.

You Decide

  1. Do you think President Trump is good at his job?

Activities

  1. The survey ranked the presidents based on “overall greatness”. It also asked experts to give the presidents a grade of A to F based on other important qualities. As a class, decide what five qualities you think the person leading the country should possess. You could grade different US presidents or UK prime ministers on your scale and see who is the best — and the worst.

Some People Say...

“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”

Abraham Lincoln, 16th American president.

What do you think?

Word Watch

George Washington
First president, served from 1789 to 1797.
Term
How long someone works in a particular role, in this case as president.
James Buchanan
15th president, served from 1857 to 1861.
Barack Obama
44th president, 2009–2017, the first US black president to be elected.
Richard Nixon
37th president, 1969–1974.
Republicans
One of the two main parties in American politics. The party of Donald Trump, and currently the party of government.
Democrats
The other main party in American politics. The party of Barack Obama.

Subjects

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