Trump debuts at number 41 on the C-SPAN presidential rankings


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In the administrative skills category, Trump came last among the 45 former presidents. He also landed last in the moral authority category, just behind Buchanan – who is best known for not preventing the civil war. Trump did better in the Public Persuasion category, where he came in 32nd, and in Economic Management, where he came in 34th.

Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University professor who advised C-SPAN on the poll since the first iteration, said one reason Trump’s low ranking could be his impeachment in 2021, which made him the only U.S. president ever twice was charged.

“This year people have compared which is worse: Watergate or the impeachment trial against Trump?” Brinkley said in a press release from C-SPAN. “The word ‘impeachment’ probably cost Nixon a few places down this year, and maybe Clinton, too.”

Trump’s four-year tenure was also marked by the outbreak of Covid-19, the handling of which was widely criticized by his administration, as well as the January 6 Capitol Riot, for which Trump was widely blamed. Trump is still sticking to the rebutted claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

In the overall survey, Abraham Lincoln took first place, as it has since the survey began. George Washington finished second and Franklin D. Roosevelt came third – the same former presidents who have made the top three on the list since 2000. The top nine rankings remained unchanged after Obama’s second term as in 2017.

When Obama’s rise to the top 10, his rating in the “Relations with Congress” category improved, jumping from 39th to 32nd place. Also in the In the Context of the Times category, Obama improved from 15th to 10th place. The 44th President’s desire for equal justice for all ratings remained his highest, placing him third just below Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson in the second consecutive poll.

C-SPAN found that the category with the most change in ranks in the past 20 years was fair to everyone, with Woodrow Wilson’s category rankings dropping 17 points since the first survey this year.

“Despite the fact that we have become more aware of the historical ramifications of racial injustice in this country and we continue to grapple with these issues, we still have presidents of slavery high on the list,” said Howard University Professor Edna Greene Medford said in the press release. Washington, still the second president on the list, enslaved people during his tenure. “While we may be a little more enlightened about races today, we neglect its importance in evaluating these presidents.”

Obama’s rise to the top 10 presidents group in this year’s poll ousted Johnson, who dropped to 11th place. Other presidents whose positions have fallen in this year’s poll include Gerald Ford (# 28) and Bill Clinton (# 19), while others like Warren Harding (37th) and Chester Arthur (30th) moved up the list . Still, the rankings remained largely similar to the previous 2017 survey.

The biggest jump since the 2000 survey to 2021 was claimed by Ulysses S. Grant, who served during the rebuilding. Grant was ranked 33rd in the first survey and is now ranked 20th.

“Grant,” Brinkley said in the press release, “has his Hamilton moment.”

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