Donald John Trump is perhaps the most powerful person in the world today, maybe the most divisive.

I just finished reading an insightful book, “Team of Vipers — My 500 Extraordinary Days In The Trump White House,” by Cliff Sims (former special assistant to the president).

This first-hand account of the author’s experience as a member of the “Trump Team” candidly reveals both the good and the bad, along with some of the ugly personal agendas and vendettas fought out among those closest to the president.

Sims shares that “Those of us who were there were part of a unique moment in time when the greatest nation on earth wrestled with its better angels and its nagging demons. We will hold tight to the triumphs, lose sleep over the failures, and perhaps shed tears over what could have been. Some of us will be proud of what we did. Others will be ashamed and never speak of it again.”

While the author shared many White House events from his own vantage point, I felt that overall he was pretty even-handed.

Of course, if you come from a “Never Trump” perspective, you might find it troubling that Sims does give the president credit for his accomplishments.

On the flip side, if you tend to believe that our current president “walks on water,” you will no doubt be upset with some of Sims’ first hand accounts of disturbing events that transpired within the Trump White House.

We should remember that like all the presidents who have come before Trump and all who may come after him, our president is still a human being with both strengths and weaknesses.

If we only watch the Fox News commentary, we may get a “rose colored” perspective that mainly promotes the virtues of our current commander in chief, while downplaying some of his troublesome character traits.

On the other hand, if we only tune into CNN, we get an entirely different slant, which often portrays our president as being basically incompetent while seldom giving him any credit for his accomplishments.

Yet, in all fairness the truth no doubt lies somewhere between these two radically opposing perspectives.

During the last presidential campaign, even his detractors would have had to admit that Trump displayed strong stamina as he outlasted a large field of competitors in the primaries and then later overcame a formidable opponent in the general election.

In all likelihood next year Trump will face off with a Democrat opponent who  will have to prevail over at least 20 other contenders.

Needless to say, whoever our president faces in 2020, he (or she) will also possess some combination of both strengths and weaknesses.

As Americans, we should all respect the office of the presidency, no matter who occupies the position. This does not mean we should necessarily agree with all the policies he (or she) promotes.

Like all of us, presidents are human beings and do make mistakes (although our current president seldom admits to any shortcomings).

As I pondered Sims’ revelations in “Team of Vipers,” I was reminded that the issues facing Trump (and any president) are often very complex with no easy clear cut solutions.

It makes me wonder why anyone would actually seek the office of president for four years (or maybe even eight) with all its heavy responsibilities and headaches.

The idealist might maintain that the motivation to run is “love of country,” while the cynic might counter “it’s all about ego.” Maybe there’s an element of truth in both views.

John P. Jones


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