142 Presidential ‘historians’ have ranked the Presidents, with Abraham Lincoln coming in first and Donald Trump coming in 4th from bottom.
Out of ten characteristics of good leadership, Trump got his best marks for public persuasion (32nd out of 44) and economic management (34th). He came last, however, for moral authority and administrative skills. Trump has dismissed criticism from historians in the past as unfair. In a 2016 interview, before becoming president, he said experts “can’t see the forest for the trees.”
Considering the explosive economic boom experienced under Trump, many Americans are puzzled by this ranking.
At the other end of the list, Barack Obama jumped two spots in the rankings, going from 12th best to 10th. Ronald Reagan snagged the number nine spot, Bill Clinton came in at 19, George HW Bush at 21, and George W Bush at 29. The only president forced to resign because of a scandal, Richard Nixon, was ranked 31st. James Buchanan, who led the country through the leadup to the Civil War came out worst.
Andrew Johnson, who was Mr Lincoln’s vice president and assumed office following Mr Lincoln’s assassination, was ranked second worst. Franklin Pierce, who served from 1853 to 1857, was ranked third from the bottom, just below Mr Trump. William Henry Harrison, the shortest-serving president in US history, was ranked fifth from the bottom. Mr Harrison died after just 31 days in office in 1841.
“It’s interesting, particularly at the top and bottom of the list, how little significant movement there has been. By contrast, the living presidents seem much more likely to fluctuate,” presidential historian Richard Norton Smith said in a statement. “It’s almost as if there was a boomerang effect where historians go overboard a bit when presidents leave office and they are at the nadir of their partisan reputation, and then they graduate to a less political status,” he added.