According to three failed presidential candidates, Donald Trump does not have the right temperament to be President of the United States. But one must ask: Did Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, or Mitt Romney have the right temperament to survive and succeed in their presidential campaigns? Their election results speak for themselves.
Even the so-called experts – the TV political pundits and commentators – consistently claim that Trump does not have the right temperament to be president. Yet, the most glaring issue with this popular meme is that many of the pundits don’t know the difference between temperament – which we’re born with – and personality, which is shaped by our social environments.
All one has to do is review the pundits’ commentary and opponents’ Tweets to see that the main criticism of Trump is his personality, not his temperament.
The truth is, much of the criticisms of Trump focuses on his astute ability to zero in and attack his opponent’s weaknesses. It is easier to label Trump a “bully” than to accept the assessments of his competitors. For example, while Jeb Bush took pride in being a “joyful tortoise,” once Trump labelled him as “low-energy,” it was all over for Bush.
Trump’s uncanny ability to take the voters’ pulse resonates with the public because he says what others have been thinking. And while controversial, Trump has grabbed everyone’s attention by describing the potential solutions in concrete, utilitarian terms: ‘’Build a wall,” “Until we know what the hell is going on, ban Muslims from coming to the USA,” and “Make America great again.’’
In one GOP debate, Senator Ted Cruz refrained from criticising Trump’s temperament, saying, “I think that is an assessment the voters are going to make.” Cruz was right: The voters were able to see what Trump would bring to the presidency better than anyone else.
So, let’s finally put this criticism of Trump’s temperament to rest: His temperament is exactly what our country needs at this critical time in our history.
The United States of America is poised for the greatest, most necessary, and vital transformation in decades, and Trump’s temperament falls into the same category as such history-making former presidents as Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.
How do I know? Simple. Mr. Trump, at my request, took the Keirsey Presidential Temperament Evaluation; an unbiased assessment tool used to evaluate the temperament of 41 presidents.
Trump’s Keirsey Presidential Evaluation revealed that he is a master of the practical; he eschews “social approval” and instead strives to find and implement solutions that work; he’s astutely aware of reality; he prefers concrete tactical solutions to abstract concepts; and he values “doing the right thing in the right way at the right time.” If diplomacy has a tactical purpose, he’ll make it a priority.
So, how does Trump compare to some of these former presidents? Let’s start with personality descriptions of JFK and LBJ. Johnson lacked Kennedy’s East Coast breeding, social connections, and urbane style, wit, and grace. Johnson was more like an axe, preferring to be brazen and pugnacious. Compared to Kennedy, LBJ was considered rude, unpolished, and sometimes cunning.
Many political wonks and historians agree that Kennedy and Johnson were powerful politicians who understood the game and played it energetically, shrewdly, and unflinchingly. Both were crafty, hard-working opportunists, able to use any event to accomplish a goal. Kennedy and Johnson could be equally underhanded, unprincipled, scheming, brazen, and downright dirty in the way they played the game of politics.
History shows Kennedy and Johnson shared more similarities when it came to getting the job done. They were both disinterested in ideas that did not have a practical application to their immediate objectives. Kennedy had a special tactical prowess coupled with subtlety and dexterity, deceit, and seduction. And Johnson once said of himself, ‘’I’m just like a fox. I can see the jugular in any man and go for it, but I always keep myself in rein. I keep myself on a leash, just like you would an animal.”
Louis Banks, managing editor of Fortune, said of Kennedy, “He is a man completely and vigorously engaged in events of the moment. Thus he regards his past acts as more or less an irrelevant prologue; his future acts as something to be determined under future circumstances.”
It was their temperament that led to their success. Like it or not, the Keirsey Presidential Evaluation reveals that Trump has the same temperament as these arguably successful past presidents. Presenting a vision for our country’s future, which focuses on the present issues, is one of the strongest qualities Trump shares with Kennedy and Johnson. Kennedy launched the first modern presidential campaign and tapped into popular culture using the exciting new medium of television. With grand ambition, Johnson launched sweeping social programs, public radio and television.
Donald Trump’s prescient concerns for our country have been consistent. He underscored and predicted in 1988 that the USA could not be a debtor nation. As Mr. Trump said to Oprah, ‘’I get tired of watching our nation being ripped off.’’ Though his focus was then on Japan and now it is China, the same exact point holds true: these countries sell their products to Americans but free trade is a misnomer.
Scrutinizing the temperaments and characteristics of past presidents, it’s clear that what some pundits consider Trump’s weaknesses are actually evidence of his deeply ingrained principles: love of country, a desire to impact others in a positive way, a realistic grasp on how the world really works, and a strong mission to get things done.
One thing is certain: Trump has keen instincts and will survive setbacks which might leave other candidates’ immobilized. But win or lose, succeed or fail, you can count on a President Trump to be adaptable and to roll with the punches and land on his feet. He always has and he always will. And isn’t that what we want in the President of the United States? Especially now.
Coming in Part Two of This Series: The Power of Vision and the Press…
Dr Jan Halper is Managing Director of the Strategic Consulting firm, Presage Advisory, a media commentator on Republican politics and author of the international bestseller Quiet Desperation: The Truth About Successful Men. Follow her on Twitter: @Biz_Shrink