Trump: In Danger of Failing

Creative Commons photo by Brent Leimenstoll

Thanks to the legendary achievements of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, there has been a lot of discussion lately about what President Donald Trump has done, or has not done in his first 100 days in office.

While politicians and pundits are offering their analysis of his efforts since January 20, I thought I would offer a different look at his efforts to date.


Basically, people are giving the president a report card, so, since I give out report cards as part of my job, I figured it was time to grade the president myself. But, while the letter grades are what students are focused on, their parents seek to glean wisdom from the comments as well.

As far as a grade goes, Trump clearly is below average based upon what Americans typically expect of a president at this point in his term. Clearly people like FDR have set the curve in this category, but we’re not talking about Andrew Johnson or the last days of Richard Nixon quite yet. That being the case, I would suggest Trump has earned a “D”. He has not failed yet, as he has showed strength when it comes to Syria and North Korea, placed Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and repealed the Affordable Care Act in the House, but he is not in the middle of the pack where the average presidents are at this point.

When it comes to Citizenship, he clearly is on the border between Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory (Although a “U” in this category would earn him study period at my school, where he would have to work and could not be on his social media accounts, which would probably be a good thing). Considering that he spends too much time on Twitter and at Mar-a-Lago, and his legislative agenda has been rolled out haphazardly at best, I would say his Work Habits are on the same “N/U” edge.

Now for the pre-loaded comments that we attach to the grade. These are verbatim from the ones I use for my students every quarter, but they are so applicable to the president and his behavior. Normally I would only get three, but since we are grading the Leader of the Free World, I think a few more might be in order. I’ll combine a couple as they seem appropriate.


Poor attitude is affecting performance

Absences/tardies affecting performance

Does not appear to be working to capacity

Trump’s superior attitude and frequent trips away from 1600 Pennsylvania make it seem that he is not focused on meeting the requirements of his job. Yes, he could manage an armed conflict with North Korea from the Beach Club at Mar-a-Lago, but he leaves the White House so often (especially for someone who criticized his predecessor for his recreational activities), Trump looks like he is not taking his job seriously.


Student lacking in prerequisite skills

Subject matter seems difficult for your student

Trump ran for the White House as a businessman who could “Drain the Swamp” of corruption and inefficiency. Well, he has spent the winter and spring mired in the morass that is Washington politics by flailing about with little to show for his efforts. The debacle over his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his other executive branch choices who have had to recuse themselves from consideration suggests he is a rookie in picking political advisers. And firing FBI Director James Comey when he did just makes him look like he is brazenly (or sloppily) trying to bury the investigation into allegations of Russia’s alleged involvement into the 2016 Election. the In addition, his comment that healthcare was a difficult issue has become a joke in and of itself.


Active class participation

Discourteous/disruptive in class

While “active class participation” can be positive, it can also be negative. Sometimes the student who always has an answer, even when he or she disagreed with everyone else can earn this comment. Trump’s need to have the last word earns him the latter criticism. In addition, no one would argue that Trump can be abrasive, then again some of his critics seems to be willing to join him in the proverbial gutter.


In Danger of Failing

The most important comment I have to put on a report card is the one which states a student might fail my class. We are required to tell parents this so that their student can remediate their grade if possible. It doesn’t mean they will fail, but if they don’t correct their performance they likely will. Sometimes students heed this warning, sometimes they do not. Donald J. Trump has not failed as a president yet, but if he doesn’t turn things around, he very well could.

Despite the fact the call to impeach Trump began the moment he took office, and that nearly two dozen democratic candidates want to vie for his job in 2020, perhaps we should focus on the president we have in office right now and hope he is able to prove his critics wrong and grow into his job.


Then perhaps he can earn the following report:

Quality of work has improved recently

Work exemplifies pride and ownership

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