After a tumultuous inaugural year in office, how do you grade Donald J. Trump’s performance as our nation’s chief executive?
That was the question we posed last month to online readers of the Business Journals, who were asked to grade the president on a five-letter scale, from A for Excellent to F for Failure.
The results show what the 24-hour news cycle has shown through the 2016 election campaign and Trump’s first year in office: sharp division and little middle ground when judging the businessman-cum-politician a success or failure, a threat to our nation or a refreshing new kind of leader making our nation great again.
A few more readers gave high grades to Trump’s first-year performance than the number who awarded him low grades. And Trump received only one C grade – for “fair to middling” – among 48 responses.
Nineteen readers gave the president an A for excellence in office. Six graded him B for “good.”
Across the divide, 16 readers gave the president an F grade. Six more judged his performance in the White House “unsatisfactory” and gave him a D.
Most D-graders cited his frequent use of Twitter to communicate.
“His obsession with Twitter is unprofessional, un-presidential and downright disgusting,” one reader commented. “A disgrace to our country.”
“His use of Twitter as a means of communication is demeaning to the office of president, full of lies and bigotry,” wrote another reader to explain his D grade. “A disgrace!”
Among the one-third of respondents who gave the president an F, only one added commentary to the grading:
“The responsibility of Congress is to run the nation. The President’s responsibility is to lead the nation toward a more perfect union. This president’s inability to compromise on issues and his propensity to levy derogatory and insulting comments at individuals that disagree with him is disgraceful. He is not a leader, he is a failure.”
Trump’s A-grade supporters were more fulsome in their comments on his first-year record.
“Jobs and pay hell of a lot better,” one succinctly wrote.
“A President who will talk to both sides of the aisle,” wrote another A-grader.
“A President who will speak his thoughts immediately, and if wrong, will later readily correct those comments. Isn’t that what most Americans do, unless you are a long-time politician who plans his every word on keeping party first, and donors?”
“Isn’t it nice to have someone like us in office?”
Another reader who gave Trump the highest grade described him as “more concerned for the people and the nation than many past Presidents. At times he does not act presidential but that is from his dealings in the business world and not being a politician.”
Finally, this from another reader who gave President Trump an A: “I love the tax cut, and how he stands up to the left, deep state, and media jerks!”