When Trump tried to set the record

Professor Julian Zelizer wrote: As an academic historian, I never expected to find myself in a virtual conference with Donald Trump. But one afternoon last summer – the day after C-SPAN launched a poll of historians that placed it slightly above Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan as the weakest CEOs in our country – he appeared on Zoom and we are told of his 45th presidency. He spoke softly and said to us, ‘We have had wonderful people; We had some not so great people. This is understandable .. it’s true, I think, with every administration. But overall, we were a huge, huge success. “

The previous article was about the third book in a series of books on an “initial historical assessment” of US presidents, and it was about Trump after Bush and Obama. Here we will present the atmosphere of the authors’ meeting with former President of the USA. Trump, with what journalists call an “exclusive interview,” which Zelizer, the book’s editor, told, titled “What I learned it when Trump tried to set the record straight.” We will present excerpts from the book’s editor’s point of view.

Jason Miller, then a Trump assistant, called me to say the former president wanted to talk to my co-authors, says Zelizer; Which neither George Bush nor Barack Obama did. For someone who has claimed to be indifferent to the way people view our world, Trump has spent more time – than any other former president we know – trying to influence the stories about him. My co-authors and I were not the only people he came in contact with; According to Axios, Trump has held talks with more than 22 writers, mostly journalists, who have worked on books that chronicle his presidency.

The former president sat at a wooden desk at his Bedminster Golf Club, next to his American flag. For the first 30 minutes, Trump mentioned his undervalued negotiating talent to deal with the economy, the coronavirus pandemic, and the leaders of China, North Korea, and Russia. “Nobody was tougher on Russia than I was,” he said. About NATO, Trump told how he forced other allies to pay higher membership fees after decades in which they did not pay their fair share. Many of Trump’s “anecdotes” are repeated in the way he talks about his ability to do things that no other president could do. He claimed to have reached a preliminary agreement with the South Korean government to contribute more to his own defense. He claimed that the historic agreement was thwarted once Joe Biden became president, after the 2020 election which was “crushed and lost.”

Our conversation with the former president has confirmed general criticism, says Zelizer, that he interprets the presidency as a forum to prove his deal-making skills … and that he seeks compliments. But his point soon became clear: he mocked the experts, and he had a message for the historians who wrote the first draft of his presidency that experts did not always know what they were talking about, unlike hard-working people who, according to common life. sense, as he did. But despite his provocative criticism of academics, it has become clear from our meeting that Trump sometimes cares about experience.

In another context, Zelizer states that during the hour of the meeting, “Trump did not have many questions for us.” His goal was to convince historians with his stories. “I want you to hear me, what we’re doing now, and I appreciate that.” In preparation for the meeting, his staff has already provided us with documents portraying him as a traditional president with a moderate track record.

Editor says Trump apparently wants the approval of historians, without understanding how historians gather evidence or make judgments; The aim is not to arrange presidents like C-SPAN polls, but to analyze and interpret presidencies over longer time horizons, to understand changes that are taking place in public policies, institutions and rules of governance … Although we always longs to read oral histories by participants and hear directly from a former president, These kind of remarks play a small role in the assessment. Trump can help historians judge his presidency by addressing common questions and preparing thoughtful, revealing and honest memos that can give historians insight into his personal and political development and the key decisions made during his administration.

In the epilogue, Zelizer wrote: “After Trump answered our questions for half an hour, Trump ended the conversation by thanking us and saying, ‘I hope this is a # 1 top seller!’ It was definitely a great way to end it, though I’m not entirely convinced he meant it. A few days after we met, Trump announced that he would stop interviewing writers because it was a “waste of time.” He added: “These writers are often bad people who write whatever comes to mind or fits their agenda. It has nothing to do with facts or reality. “

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