That would be Donald John Trump, and I mean this judgment on a pretty traditional moralistic basis. It may be obvious, but maybe not. Anyway, I want to get this off my chest before we simply get swamped with all the probably bad policy things he will be doing in the near future.
Before I dump on him, let me note at least one more or less good thing, the same one that Hillary Clinton was able to come up with at the end of the second debate when asked to say something nice about him: he does seem to have been a mostly good father, at least to his oldest three children. Now I could get off on some of his creepy remarks regarding Ivanka, and I am not sure how moral his two older sons are, although they do not seem to be unhappy or deranged or anything. Tiffany seems to be somewhat estranged and off, but basically OK as well, I guess, and while some have been huffing and puffing about Barron not paying much attention at the inauguration, well, he is only 10, and I wish him the best. Anyway, not obviously bad as a dad.
I am mostly of the mind that sexual conduct is irrelevant to someone;s ability to lead a country, and many world leaders have had scandalous sex lives reflecting their huge egos associated with lots of out of control sexual activity. And we have certainly had some other presidents with records of apparently lots of extramarital sexual activity, notably Harding, JFK, LBJ, and Clinton, with probably some others in there as well, but with their activities unreported. There were others that had reported affairs, notably FDR and Ike. But Trump's activities have involved more flagrant contempt for women than any of these, with his nasty remarks, such things as wandering into the dressing rooms of the Teen Universe festival, and more accusations of rape than the others. Clinton has Paula Broderick, but Trump has his first wife, who withdrew the charge she initially made, and then a reputed underage woman whose name remains unrevealed, who was to bring a suit but pulled back.
As it is, noting a very conventional measure, he is the first president to have been divorced twice, both times following his cheating on existing wife with subsequent one. The only other one to get divorced at all was Reagan, who was in Hollywood and only did it once. There is, of course, the highly questionable conduct of Jefferson with Sally Hemings. But I note that it was against the law to marry a slave in those days, although I suppose he could have freed her. And there was the very odd detail that she was the half sister of his late wife. As it is, I still know some old and conservative people in Virginia who refuse to accept the evidence that he fathered her children.
Bringing that up does bring up one area where Trump has been better than a whole bunch of our former presidents, including four of our first five: he has not owned any slaves. But then I would argue that people should be judged by the standards of their times and compared to others of their times. Certainly in terms of their views regarding policies, most earlier presidents were more sexist and homophobic and racist than Trump, if for nearly all of them less compared to other people of their periods than is Trump now compared to people of this time.
Of course many earlier presidents have done some pretty horrible things as president, and it may come to pass that Trump will not do things as bad as these. John Adams, the only non-slaveholder among our first five presidents, signed the Alien and Sedition Acts. Jackson forced Native Indian tribes to move with many dying on the Trail of Tears, a policy much admired by Hitler. Lincoln suspended habeus corpus. Wilson approved the Palmer raids. FDR set up the internship camps for people of Japanese descent. Truman dropped atomic bombs on Japan. Nixon broke into competitors' offices and then lied about it. W. Bush invaded Iraq, and more. For some of these things Trump has supported similar policies, if not too likely to fully follow through on them. So, he has advocated making it easier to sue the media for libel. He has advocated a new Trail of Tears to deport massive numbers of people. He has suggested bringing back and expanding torture, as well as loosening various civil liberties in order to fight terror. But already on some of these he appears to have backed off. And, of course, some of the worst of these things were done in the midst of wars far worse than what we are involved in now, when, well, war is hell.
So where does he really look clearly worse than any of the rest in his personal moral conduct? Well one of the biggest is his lying and another is his crookedness and financial corruption. The best defense is an offense, and it is not at all surprising that among the memes he pushed at the GOP convention and regularly supported by his supporters who have chanted "Lock her up," even at the inauguration when she appeared, was that HRC was a liar and a crook. Well, she certainly did make some false statements, and she and Bill also had an unpleasant money grubbing aspect that reflected itself in everything from walking off with stuff from the WH when they left it and her abysmally stupid paid speeches to Wall Street banks, although the charges against them regarding their foundation look about as silly as the ones against her about Benghazi and her emails, especially when compared with the corruption and absurdity of his foundation, now being shut down.
But various studies showed Trump to be by far the biggest liar of all of the 23 candidates last year, with only Ted Cruz close to him. He told so many lies that one could not keep track of them. The minute there was outrage about one, he would be issuing another. He has already put two out since his inauguration, one about the numbers attending and the other that it was the media who falsely claimed that he had differences with the CIA. He has lied so frequently that the minute one is getting outraged by one lie, he puts out another. One eventually just says, "Oh, there he goes again," and his supporters, those at least who realize he is lying a lot, simply view it as an acceptable part of his personality showing that he is strong, or something. He can get away with it, good for him!
Certainly other presidents have lied, often about substantial policy matters, such as LBJ prior to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that was used to justify the escalation of the Vietnam War. But I cannot think of another president with such a record of just lying all the time repeatedly almost every other day, not a one. If somebody can name one, please be my guest, and unfortunately it looks like Trump plans to continue doing it big time, which could end up having some really bad consequences. It is one thing to lie as a candidate, and the number of presidents who broke campaign promises is huge, but lying repeatedly, especially if he does it to foreign leaders, well, we simply have not see this, not remotely on this scale anyway.
Another is his level of his financial corruption and crookedness. The simplest case of this is the simply enormous number of contractors he has shafted and not paid, or paid way less than they were legally owed, over the years. This is fraud and theft, and while he has paid numerous fines for all this, he has not been in jail, and he has somehow managed to turn this into "being a good businessman," despite his numerous bankruptcies. Oh, he did get nailed on his seriously fraudulent "university," but got off lightly with only paying $25 million, when the losses of those he defrauded on that far exceed that amount. On top of this we have his refusal to release his tax returns, not illegal, but justified with something phony, that he cannot because he is being audited when that does not prevent one from doing so (Nixon did so) We have suspicions of him being seriously in hock to a foreign power (Russian oligarchs, who reportedly poured money into his org after his 2009 bankruptcy when US banks refused to lend to him). And he has not sold off his holdings or even put them in a blind trust, instead putting his sons in charge of his business dealings. With foreigners openly staying at his hotel in Washington to curry his favor, he looks to be the first and only president to be blatantly in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The presidencies of Grant and Harding were notorious for their corruption, but most of that involved their cronies and appointees, not them personally, and as it is Trump's appointees may well give the people in those administrations a serious run for their money. This bodes to be by far the most corrupt administration ever, with the stink starting from the top, not bubbling up from the bottom.
Finally there is the matter of his completely unacceptable personal insults of other people. He has made many, but the two that really stick in my mind are his slam on John McCain for getting captured during the Vietnam War and his very recent blast at John Lewis for being "all talk and no action." But there have been many others. Now maybe if previous presidents had had access to twitter, they would have been just as obnoxious and awful as Trump has been, but I doubt it.
Anyway, I could go on, but I would simply challenge anybody, any Trump supporter, anybody, to name another president who was a worse human being on moral grounds than Donald J. Trump.
Oh, I do have one figure to compete with him at the presidential level, but only a candidate and vice president. That would be Aaron Burr. He killed a political rival (Alexander Hamilton) and, after Jefferson dumped him as VP, he was arrested for treason in 1807 for plotting to lead a secession of portions of the Louisiana territory, although he was not convicted as he had only plotted it and not done it. Heck, maybe Trump is even worse as a human being than that bad actor.