Michael Beschloss – a historian’s perspective

Having watched PBS Newhour for years, I have been impressed with the wisdom and experience of historian Michael Beschloss. Colby Hall of Mediaite wrote an article called “Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss on Trump: ‘He Did Literally the Worst Thing an American President Could Ever Do’” A link to the article is below. Here are a few paragraphs that tell much of the story.

“’This is the only president in American history who incited an insurrection against Congress that could have resulted in assassinations and hostage-taking and, conceivably, the cancellation of a free presidential election and the fracturing of a democracy,’ Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, told me. ‘That’s a fact, and it won’t change in 50 years. It’s very hard to think of a scenario under which someone might imagine some wonderful thing that Donald Trump did that will outshine that. He did, literally, the worst thing that an American president could ever do.’

Beschloss’s clear assessment of Trump’s actions on that fateful day should resonate with a potentially divided Republican party that is currently struggling with the albatross of holding the former president accountable for, what some see, as a clear encouragement of insurrection.

Senator Mitch McConnell and Rep. Kevin McCarthy have both publicly blamed Trump for the capitol violence, but a number of Senators fear the impeachment of the former president could force the MAGA set to leave the GOP forever. There are whispers that Trump is considering a third “Patriot” party, that would not only be a disaster for future Republican efforts but also seems to be a bit of a threat against GOP lawmakers who want to proceed with conviction.

It should be noted McCarthy has backtracked on his assertion and I read a piece that said only six Republican Senators would now vote to convict the former president. So, much for widespread political courage. So, my guess is the Senate will not proceed with a trial if they don’t have the votes. The former president is guilty in the majority of public opinion and remains unfit to run for office in the view of even a few more. But, he left that hyper partisan base to deal with, so courage will continue to be sparse.

Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss on Trump: ‘He Did Literally the Worst Thing an American President Could Ever Do’ (msn.com)

28 thoughts on “Michael Beschloss – a historian’s perspective

    • Joy, it does amaze me as well. I guess cognitive dissonance is too powerful a force to reckon with, especially with GOP Senator Ben Sasse calling his party a party of conspiracy and talk show hosts. When folks are confronted with truths, it creates disharmony and they tend to run home to a favorite source to tell them it is OK. Keith

      • I really wonder how his past four years will catch up with him now. I am sure, a lot of people only waited for him not being president anymore.

      • True. Sadly, he got 74 million votes, so they are more scared than if he got fewer. Country is secondary to party, which is sad.

  1. Good article … I’ve long respected Beschloss and he is, I think, spot on. Like Carolyn, I cannot understand how anybody can have an ounce of respect for him after all he’s done in the past four years. I don’t think he has the ability to form a third party, and even if he does manage it, a third party candidate is pretty much doomed from the start … the most they can do is pull some votes away from one or both of the other two parties. Four years is a long time, and people have short memories. I think the odds are that by 2024, most of his base will have wandered away and his third party will fail to do much damage. But … that’s only my view, and I’ve certainly been wrong many times when I made predictions regarding Trump.

    • Jill, thanks. Let’s hope your prediction is correct. By the way, I posted an email on Tucker Carlson’s site pushing back on what he is claiming Biden said on white supremacists (he is claiming Biden is calling all those who voted for Trump white supremacists, which he did not do). I included a reference to Shepard Smith’s concerns. Keith

      • Indeed, let’s hope so. I’m pretty confident that any attempt at a third party will fail, but my bigger fear is that the Republicans will once again embrace him in order to lure his followers, if he can keep them energized for the next 3 years. People have short memories, and by the time the 2024 campaign kicks into high gear, many will have forgotten the horrors of the moment. That’s why it is so important he be convicted on the impeachment charge, but … doesn’t seem at all likely.

      • Jill, it looks more is coming out about the former president’s “coup” thinking, using the DOJ to help overturn the results. Bill Maher said it plainly last night, if you do not think Trump is a fascist, then you don’t know what fascism is.

        I would like to see him convicted by the Senate, but that is not going to happen – not enough votes. But, I don’t see him running again. Too much out in the open crimes and he is in severe financial straights which may occupy his time. Keith

  2. Let us never lose track on the fact that Trump a child of privilege who never had to do an honest hard day’s work in his life decided to play at politics and was grasped by a groundswell then propelled on their communal shoulders forward. Despite losing the popular vote he ended up in the Whitehouse by the efforts of not a broad consensus but a sectional vote.
    With no experience of truly constructive work and having spent his environment in a world of being able to do as he wished of course the creature could not cope with the trials and tribulations that most politicians have to face.
    In the end he could not bear the thought of losing and could only scream and rage, which of course appealed to the baser elements in his following.
    In less febrile times the majority of GOP would have been deserting him in droves long ago but these days they cling to this and that in desperation. They will not accept they made a hideous mistake. The sad joke on them is, if they had chosen Ted Cruz, just as nasty but more shrewd the usual conventions of politics would have probably meant another term for the right wing of the GOP. They have not gone away.

      • Thank you Keith
        It greaves me to see a nation I was so fond of, for all the flaws, shortcomings and errors (which are the lot of all countries) , suffer a sizeable populist blundering back into a ‘Know Nothing’ ‘KKK’ ‘There will be a tunnel from Rome to the Whitehouse if Al Smith is elected’ mindset.
        Kudos to Joe Biden for not giving way to the temptation of addressing the Trump faction with a quote from Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’
        ‘You blocks. You stones. You worse than senseless things,’
        Take care Keith

      • Me as well. Biden is someone folks could call Joe and get away with it. He is a decent person and will try to unite us, which his predecessor’s Sec of Defense said of his former boss, “he does not even try to unite us.” Keith

      • Trump is one of those oafs who think division creates competition which is healthy.
        Hitler thought the same way.
        FDR, Churchill and Stalin wanted teams (in Stalin’s case in a slightly different way)
        Look who won, and look who ended up in a bunker (sorry about the golfing pun)

      • Roger, as a former consultant, this divide and conquer management style is absolutely horrible. Trump only got away with it as he did not have a Board of Directors to fire him. Trump is a great at sales, but horrible at management. Keith

      • I have not had to deal with such a management, but would absolutely try and defeat it, if I could without dishonesty or lawbreaking. BTW ddwp, nice recollect on the Holland Tunnel canard.

    • Janis, well there are a few in trouble. It would not surprise me to see Giuliani disbarred. As for the former president, he is facing huge financial problems. He will likely have to sell a few of his properties to pay off debt. Keith

  3. Thank you Keith.
    Trump’s 74 million, nor Biden’s 82 million, cannot be relied upon to all vote the same way, in four years. Neither for the same candidate, even if, God help y’all, that such candidate was Mr Trump. My sense is the surest way to indelibly stamp Mr Trump ‘ the worst president’, is a conviction with sanction following a prompt impeachment. Whatever necessary means, to achieve this outcome, need to be put in place, irrespective of the 46ths first 100 days, or Virus. There will be days after 100, vaccines will ameliorate virus effects over time, but a stake needs driving through the heart of the Frankenstein raised in 2016 to ensure y’all of eternal peace.

    • David, no president deserves it more than the former one, yet he may escape conviction as too many Republicans don’t seem to mind he almost caused them harm. Keith

      • So be it, nevertheless, time is of the essence, public interest will inevitably fail, outrage subside and a deferred impeachment serves only Mr Trumps purpose. Strike while the iron is hot!

      • Eugene Debs ran for office in prison (and obviously lost) but could claim sympathy from what he was imprisoned for, I think. If Donald Trump is sent off for tax evasion, racketeering, corruption, or other low-minded offenses it will be hard to get elected. After all, felons are rarely allowed to register, and if you can’t register you can’t run.

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