With Saturday marking the first anniversary of U.S. President Donald Trump taking office, two experts at the University of Toronto have weighed in with Globe and Mail op-eds that take critical aim at his presidency so far.
Clifford Orwin, a professor of political science, looks at the unimpeachable president. The U.S. Constitution allows for impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanours,” Orwin writes – and while “a wealth” of misdemeanours can be ascribed to Trump, there are no high crimes yet (although, Orwin allows, we don’t know the outcome of the Robert Mueller inquiry).
Orwin then moves to the political, writing that “Trump has compromised his presidency beyond recovery.” His low approval rating during a time of an economic miniboom means he hasn’t persuaded the skeptics, and Orwin suggests “there is little prospect of [the approval rate] rising.”
What a president says matters, Orwin writes. “Mr. Trump’s feckless mouthings so besmirch his policies as to sap whatever plausibility they might otherwise possess.” It means the White House’s “only serious business is damage control.”
Mark Kingwell, a professor of philosophy at U of T, shares Orwin’s scathing assessment of Trump. In an op-ed entitled “You’re either with Trump or you’re a reasonable person,” Kingwell writes that Trump is, “by his own actions and statements, a racist, a misogynist, a narcissist and a fool.”
Why does Trump remain untouched in power? Kingwell suggests three reasons – though he writes that “none of them are creditable or valid, let alone worth the support of sane people.”
The first: Trump is too big to fail, with many people having deep stakes in the administration, such as Wall Street banks who will benefit from his tax plan.
The second is that he is getting support from “a group of the most craven, incumbency-shadowing, spine-free creatures the world has ever suffered to host.” High-ranking Republicans are not denouncing his outrageous remarks, Kingwell writes.
The third is that there are people who agree with Trump, his so-called base. Kingwell writes that while there was reason to consider the rational Trump voter during the election – “disaffected, disenfranchised, frustrated, looking for a change from politics as usual” – anyone who continues to support him "is either an idiotic sucker or a shameful racist.”