JFK vs Trump: Who Wins?

JFK vs Trump: Who Wins? January 13, 2017

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by US Embassy New Delhi,
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by US Embassy New Delhi,

This is worth a look. It’s President Kennedy’s first press conference.

We were deep in the cold war when this press conference occurred. Now, we’re about to inaugurate a president whose electoral efforts benefitted greatly from Russian hacking.

Claims that the Russian hacking and the subsequent release of embarrassing emails concerning President Elect Trump’s opponent had no effect on the outcome of the election are specious nonsense. Given the small margin with which he won key electoral states, they were crucial to his win.

He spent months aggressively denying that the Russians were behind the leaks and attacking anyone who disagreed with him about it. He even called on Congress to “investigate” those who brought proof of the fact that the Russians had done this to America. He praised the Russian president repeatedly throughout his campaign. He publicly called on the Russians to continue the hacking. He even praised the Russian president in the direct context of these cyber attacks on our nation.

He has given every indication that he intends to repay this Russian favor by changing American policy in ways that are favorable to the Russians. He has behaved like a man who is not only guilty, but who doesn’t much care if we know he’s guilty.

There is no issue that even begins to rise to the level that this does. It obviates any other discussion about our President Elect.

A hostile foreign power interfered in the election of our president and, given how close the vote was in key states, may very well have supplied the vote difference by means of the information they released. The candidate that they tried to elect won and has, from the beginning of his candidacy, publicly and consistently courted the favor of this foreign power.

President John Kennedy was a war hero who won the Silver Cross. Our current president — who has never worn the uniform — has said that Senator John McCain, who was a prisoner of war during Viet Nam and who suffered torture during that imprisonment which has left him with permanent disabilities, is not a hero.

As for the two press conferences, President Kennedy talked about actual issues and real actions. He was courteous and refrained from bullying and name-calling, even of his political opponents. His analysis of Congress’ reaction to his legislative agenda was strong, but courteous. He directly answered questions in detail. He also dealt with criticisms of his administration from American citizens with a serious, thoughtful reply, expressed with respect.

There was a brief question at the end about how to handle things if the president was incapacitated. This has an eery feel, looking back.

The press was able to get into substantive questioning with him and get real answers. There was not one demagogic soundbite in the entire press conference, just a clear, respectful and intelligent question and answer session between the President of the United States and the press corp.

The contrast between the abusive, arm-waving, braggadocio behavior we witnessed earlier this week couldn’t be more stark. It’s not just an illustration of how far we’ve sunk in the quality of our presidents. It also illustrates how degraded and crude we have become as a people.

The America of 1961 would not have tolerated behavior like President Elect Trump’s from anyone in public life, including entertainers. Of course, part of the problem is that President Elect Trump behaves far more like an entertainer than he does a president.

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92 responses to “JFK vs Trump: Who Wins?”

  1. No comparison. If Trump had been in charge during the Cuban missile crisis, either we’d be back to the stone age, or we’d have Russian proconsuls running the People’s Republic of America.

  2. Trump wanting to normalize relations with Russia is a sane and welcome shift in foreign policy.

  3. This isn’t a question of policy. I have no objections to a more cordial shift in our relations with Russia. It is a question of the sovereignty of the United States. Is our president a Quisling? That is not a matter of policy, but, sadly, it is a question that we all need to ask.

  4. Quisling? We aren’t at war with Russia. Do you think Obama is a Quisling or a communist for normalizing relations with Cuba?

  5. JFK hands down, but both are symbols of how libertine attitudes corrupt a human soul. JFK was not given time to repent of his immoral lifestyle, Trump has been given the time but refuses to do so. Sexual and Fiscal libertine, does not matter which, destroys the soul.

  6. Our new President is more like a Deevel from Robert Asprin’s Myth Adventures Series. He always comes out on top of any financial transaction. And if the subcontractors on the Old Post Office Hotel are any indication; and Putin has signed a contract with The Donald, Putin had better count his fingers, toes, relatives, and countrymen. Putin will find that signing a contract with The Donald carries a far higher price than he thought.

  7. Are you deliberately dodging the issue? I repeat: This is not about policy. It is about whether or not our president elect sold us out to a foreign power in order to gain their help in winning an election. It about whether or not he will be their puppet rather than our president. It is out whether or not we have lost the sovereignty of our nation by handing it over to a Manchurian candidate.

    This is about the future of this nation.

    You are trying to equate policy with treason.

    BTW, I keep hearing people saying this bit about wanting better relations with Russia. That isn’t a reply. It’s a slogan which does not address any of the issues.

    They are clearly reciting something they’ve read somewhere. Where did you pick this up? I am not being sarcastic. I really want to know who is selling this to people as an answer to such a grave question.

  8. Pursuing a different approach with Russia is a rational foreign policy judgement. Ask Henry Kissinger:

    Or Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at NYU and Princeton:

    Where are you getting all your anti-Russia, “Manchurian candidate” stuff? Who convinced you it’s necessary to be bellicose with Russia, to the point of risking war?

    I’m not the one who equated foreign policy with treason, you did. I simply wondered why you apply the “Quisling” epithet unevenly.

  9. I have been hearing the defense by deflection as well. Are they afraid of the real issue here? As to his chance to repent, It is here till the moment of his death. May he accept it soon!

  10. Is Putin wrong?

    During my conversations with American and European leaders, I always spoke of the need to fight terrorism together, as a challenge on a global scale. We cannot resign ourselves to and accept this threat, cannot cut it into separate pieces using double standards. Our partners expressed agreement, but a little time passed and we ended up back where we started. First there was the military operation in Iraq, then in Libya, which got pushed to the brink of falling apart. Why was Libya pushed into this situation? Today it is a country in danger of breaking apart and has become a training ground for terrorists.

    Only the current Egyptian leadership’s determination and wisdom saved this key Arab country from chaos and having extremists run rampant. In Syria, as in the past, the United States and its allies started directly financing and arming rebels and allowing them to fill their ranks with mercenaries from various countries. Let me ask where do these rebels get their money, arms and military specialists? Where does all this come from? How did the notorious ISIL manage to become such a powerful group, essentially a real armed force?

    …We sometimes get the impression that our colleagues and friends are constantly fighting the consequences of their own policies, throw all their effort into addressing the risks they themselves have created, and pay an ever-greater price.

    …Obama spoke about the Islamic State as one of the threats. But who helped to arm the people who were fighting Assad in Syria? Who created a favourable political and informational climate for them? Who pushed for arms supplies?

    Are you really not aware of who is fighting there? It is mostly mercenaries fighting there. Are you not aware that they get paid to fight?,86:26:r3k

  11. This isn’t the issue. The issue is that our president elect may very well be a traitor, that put this country and every man, woman and child on the planet in grave danger.

  12. That is what we are discussing. Do you have any evidence Trump is a traitor? Or that he will put “every man, woman and child on the planet in grave danger”?

  13. At least JFK didn’t brag about his marital cheating—–and things were kept quieter in those days—no “instant” messaging or Tweeting etc.

  14. We’re in for a rocky 4 years starting next Saturday. It is frightening. I do not trust that man. I do not have any respect for him and cannot see myself getting any. The office of President is being filled by a very “bad” man. I will not be watching him take the Oath.

  15. Trumps “press conference” was a joke, IMO. He was his usual rude self, losing control of himself quickly when he didn’t like the questions. Why did he bother to have one? Nothing was accomplished and it was obvious he wasn’t comfortable because he wasn’t in the company of his “followers” and getting their approval constantly as he did when he was campaigning. I still can’t believe his treatment of the competent CNN reporter when the man was trying to ask a question. His comment about the network was telling. He is definitely hiding a lot—-and it will eventually come out. JFK had his problems and who knows how history would have judged him if he had been able to complete his term? I have never seen such behavior from politicians as is continuously displayed by DT. Where are his taxes folks? Afraid that we will find out his business dealings with Russia? I think so. If I remember correctly, there is no law that says he can’t release them while they are being audited. And yes, he may well be a traitor—-

  16. Are you trying to resurrect the Cold War? The choice is a silly choice. Personally I think you all are not getting what Trump is up to. He’s got a strategy in his mind on foreign policy and it involves allying with Russia to isolate China. Now if GW Bush can look into Putin’s soul and Obama/Hillary can try a reset button, people should let Trump try his plan. It can’t be any worse than the Obsma failure with Putin

  17. Manchuria candidate…lol. You’ve been watching too many movies. Treason is a pretty serious charge. You better have evidence before you make such a charge Rebecca. People can say similar things for the slip shod way Hillary handled classified information.

  18. Rebecca you put yourself into this position. Your claim he’s treasonous is refuted by his policy intent. Comments bringing the policy are perfectly legit.

  19. I don’t think it’s any more of a danger to the world than Hillary’s statement that if she was elected she would try to enforce a no fly zone in Syria against Russian planes.

    And I really don’t care who got the tapes released. What they contained was the truth, as the Democrats acknowledged. Just as I don’t care who found the tape that showed what a pig Trump is. That was true, too.

    When I was sure who the 2 candidates were, I turned to prayer. I have always been NeverTrump NeverHillary, and I still am. I don’t think it matters which one won. She was selling visits to the State Department and there’s no reason to think she would have stopped selling policy to the highest bidder. So it didn’t matter which of the 2 won; the American people lost.

  20. You asked “I really want to know who is selling this to people as an answer to such a grave question”, I provided links to two foreign policy experts, which you ignored. What is the source of your bellicosity towards Russia?

  21. Manny, this appears to be a pretty clear instance of direct interference in our electoral process with the intent of influencing the outcome of the election of the President of the United States. I’m not even going to go off into the question of Secretary Clinton’s email practices, since they do not apply to this question. Treason is a high charge, and I’m not making it. I am saying that according to investigators, the Russians did this, President Elect Trump benefitted, and that he is behaving like a guilty man. That raises the QUESTION of treason, which needs to be investigated. This is more important than political party Manny. It’s our country.

    I’m not going to get off of this Manny. I love my country too much to do anything but pursue it doggedly. If it turns out that President Elect Trump was just a big-mouthed fool who stepped sideways into looking like a Russian quisling, I’ll say so. But that’s about the most positive interpretation I can see for this right now. You called him a buffoon yourself a few months ago.

  22. That’s a red herring. This is not about policy. it’s about whether or not our President Elect is a loyal American, or if he is a Russian quisling. It’s about our national sovereignty. None of the historic points you raise are pertinent to that question. They are about policy issues only.

  23. There is ample evidence that the Russians interfered in the election, and that he was the beneficiary. His statements asking them to do this are public record. His constant toadying to Putin is public record. Whether or not this is treason is something we need to investigate and find out. If he is a traitor, then, yes, indeed, he puts every man, woman and child on this planet in grave danger.

  24. I never said you deleted my comments. I pointed out you asked a question, I answered it, and you ignored the answer.

  25. Trump didn’t ask Russia to interfere in the election, he made a joke about Hillary’s email scandal. Wanting to normalize relations with Russia isn’t “toadying”, it’s a sensible shift in foreign policy.

  26. Recall she reiterated her commitment to a no-fly zone in Syria even after the CJCS testified to Congress that imposing it would mean war with Russia.

  27. Has nothing to do with the question at hand, which is whether or not our President Elect is a Russian quisling.

  28. I has to do with who is actually dangerous. Whether or not our President Elect is a Russian quisling is not a serious question.

  29. No. He wasn’t “joking.” There are a lot of people who say horrendous things, and when they are called on them, claim they were “joking.” President Elect Trump, and his won’t-see-what’s-right-in-front-of-them supporters is a case in point. Is he talking about “normalizing” relations with Russia? Or is he talking about doing their bidding?

  30. You said “I keep hearing people saying this bit about wanting better relations with Russia…They are clearly reciting something they’ve read somewhere. Where did you pick this up? I am not being sarcastic. I really want to know who is selling this to people as an answer to such a grave question.” In response I linked to Henry Kissinger and Princeton professor Stephen F. Cohen. Read what I linked to, you might learn something.

  31. I think it’s the ONLY question that matters right now. I am appalled that so many Americans who have heretofore been so patriotic are trying to slide this under the rug. America matters.

  32. The dossier has already been debunked. Perhaps this is running along Liberal’s partisan emails. Frankly this seems just like the Birther nonsense that was trying to deligitamize Obama at the beginning of his term. If you want to run around in the nutcase side of politics, be my guest. But it’s your reputation. Don’t take it from me, take it from Bob Woodward: ‘Garbage Document’: Woodward Says US Intel Should Apologize Over Trump Dossier

  33. I don’t quite remember what I intended with that comment. Probably something along the lines of Trump wanting better relations with Russia, and so people are taking that and combining it with bogus information. Not sure exactly what I was thinking, so forget it.

  34. I shouldn’t have brought it up. It was a long time ago, before the nomination, and we were talking about possible presidential candidates. You were appalled by the idea of Mr Trump winning the nomination, as was I.

  35. I don’t think so. As nearly as I can remember, the CIA, FBI, NSA didn’t flat out say that President Obama wasn’t an American citizen. That claim was always just a few nuts. The chief nut in that bogus campaign, I might remind you, is now our President Elect.

    What we have here is unanimous agreement from all of our intelligence agencies that the Russians used their hacking to influence the outcome of the election and that President Putin ordered this and that he did it to try to elect the man who won. We also have Russian officials saying that they were in contact with the campaign during the electioneering. Also, we have Mr Trump’s consistent defense of President Putin (which is just about the only consistent position he’s taken.) There’s quite a bit more, but this alone puts it well outside the parameters of the birther nonsense which was just politically driven drivel.

    I think we are extremely foolish if we do not investigate this seriously.

    I expect fully that President Trump will go the other direction and shut down all investigations after he takes office. As i said, he behaves like a guilty man.

  36. I don’t have time right now, but if you’ll remind me later, I’ll dig out the link to that report. It’s sad that an issue of such importance is being treated as a partisan football. If there is a good explanation which clears President Elect Trump, I want to hear it. So far, I’ve just seen idiotic ad hominid attacks, sloganeering and conflating policy with and historic events with this situation in ways that do not fit. If you’ll remember, President Obama released his birth certificate. It was always on file in Hawaii, right out in public. The two situations do not equate.

    Frankly, if you want to talk the nut side of politics, I think people who refuse to see that there is cause for concern here are verging on the three monkeys; you know, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, i.e., deaf, dumb and blind.

    There’s plenty to object about President Elect Trump — and quite a bit to support — that has nothing to do with the Russian interference in this election just past. But that is more important than anything because it strikes to the heart of our national security. As I said, if there is legitimate documentation debunking this, I want to see it. But what I’ve seen so far is just political claptrap from political clap trappers.

  37. I’m not talking about the Trump Dossier. Never even read it. I’m talking about the unanimous report given by the CIA, FBI, NSA a few weeks ago; that and the testimony by the heads of these agencies before congress.

  38. Thank you for this article. I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who sees this loudmouthed buffoon for what he is – a selfish “Me! Me! Me!” narcissist who hasn’t the slightest shame or regard for the truth. I’m not sure whether he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies, or just doesn’t care.

  39. Sorry Manny. I couldn’t resist. Here’s our President Elect, riding his crazy horse all over the birther issue. Of course, he’s also doing what he always does: Lying out of every bodily orifice while scarcely drawing a breath.

  40. I was and still am. I’m shocked his boorish behavior got him elected. At no point in the primaries did I support him. But once he won, what was I going to do, vote for Hillary? I would rather have all my teeth pulled out without any pain killer than do that. Ultimately I have to separate Trump’s personality from his policies. And he supports the over whelming majority of my issues. Actually what won it for Trump was the religious conservatives. He actually won the majority of Catholic voters, which didn’t look very likely in the summer. I don’t have any affection for him like I did for Pres GWB, GHWB, or Reagan, but he’s going to put conservatives on the Supreme Court, repeal Obamacare, and defund Planned Parenthood, and hopefully be sympathetic to religious issues. While I would normally be in the Marco Rubio camp on our relationship with Russia, I’m willing to give the new administration the benefit of the doubt and let him work a different approach. The last 16 years with Putin has not worked out, and that’s from both parties. Let’s see what Trump can do.

  41. I think what happened here was that a made up story from the Republican primaries was circulated around and fell into the CIA, I think it was. Now whoever looked at it there either had a thing against Trump or his judgement was really off and passed it on for investigation. The media got whiff of it and given it was actually being looked at by the intelligence agency figured it was true. This came out out of dirty tricks during the primaries.

  42. Listen, I argued against the birther proponents on the right wing blogs. They used the same argument as you: “people who refuse to see that there is cause for concern here are verging on the three monkeys; you know, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, i.e., deaf, dumb and blind.” It’s all very similar.

  43. I know. It is poetic justice that it’s coming back toward him. Nonetheless, I think you’re wasting your time and ultimately harming the country. Just like the Bither’s did. By the way, I think Trump really believed it. He seems to believe in a number of conspiracies.

  44. Ms. Hamilton,

    No rational person disgrees with you. But you are wasting your time arguing with trolls in the comments. 2 Timonthy 2:23.

  45. The fact that the American public is now saddled with Trump who appears to live in a “for me only world”, who brags about sexual exploits, who has at best problems with recognizing what is true speaks and has millions of folks supporting speaks to the gutter level our belief government has sunk. We have to reach rock bottom before we can start to move forward again and I pray that Trump symbolizes rock bottom.

  46. Here is an explanation I think maybe you haven’t considered.

    In the business world, when you sign a contract with Trump- you become a loser. He said as much in The Art of The Deal; regardless of the terms of the contract, he sees every transaction as being one between winners and losers, and he built his vast international hotel and resort empire on making sure that in every situation, he’s ALWAYS the winner.

    Even if he has to cheat to do so.

    Such a man is not beholden to anybody, regardless of what “debt” he’s claimed to have owed- he goes bankrupt and then doesn’t pay the debt.

    That is what is happening with Russia. Putin has signed a contract with a Deevel. He’d better check his fingers and toes to see if any are missing.

  47. ” this appears to be a pretty clear instance of direct interference in our electoral process ”

    Really? Indirect at best. No voting machines were hacked by Russians. This was all discovered and over a month before election day.

  48. Some of these people aren’t trolls. They’re good folks with a different viewpoint from mine. Manny is a case in point.

  49. Well … one thing I’m sure of is that I’m not harming the country. First, my little self doesn’t have that power. Second, I believe (note, believe) that I would be worse than remiss if I did not raise these questions. As for our president elect believing this … did you just say that he’s nuts?????

  50. I wouldn’t be all over this if all three of our national security agencies had not taken a unanimous position saying exactly what I’m saying about Russian interference in the election. I still wouldn’t be asking such question about Mr Trump if he hadn’t done just about everything but confess these past months. He fingered himself in this deal. That’s way different from the birther thing, which was made up whole cloth. As for the three monkeys, it’s a cliche. Everybody tosses them around.

  51. I didn’t realize you hadn’t seen the report. I’ve got a day with doctors today. But as soon as I can, I’ll dig it out and post it. It’s none of the things you’re referencing.

  52. I understand what you mean about the choices we had in the election. I said over and over that no matter which of them won, we would all lose, had, in fact, lost already. As for President Elect Trump’s policies, I’m still waiting for policies. All I’ve seen is braggadocio pie in the sky stuff and nonsense, i.e., his usual lies. That’s why I haven’ written about them. I don’t believe anything he says, and frankly, he hasn’t said anything substantive yet. A couple of his appointees are deplorable, and I’m pretty sure we’re heading into an era of rank corruption that will make the Teapot Dome scandal smell good. But I pay not attention to what he says in terms of policy. That’s odd, considering he’s the president elect, but he lies. all. the. time. If he told me it was raining outside, I’d go look out the window and check for myself.

    As for separating personality from policy, I learned my first term in office that you can’t do that. It’s a fantastical thing to try. Everything in politics comes down to human nature. Always.

  53. The Clintons were about the most corrupt politicians on a national level of my lifetime. There is every indication she stole the primary election from Sanders. Given the choice I might as well vote for the person that will push the pro-life issues forward rather than the one who was to regress them. I think Trump won the election during the debate question on abortion. Remember it?Hillary gave a no compromise answer in support of all abortions while Trump chastised her and gave a really good pro-life answer. That exchange turned the election in my opinion. There’s no question in my mind or my heart that I voted for the right person.

  54. Those are completely legitimate reasons for voting for Mr Trump, Manny. My concern is that many people have translated that forced vote into a commitment that overrides their thinking. You can vote for someone without tying yourself to them. People need to understand that.

  55. It is important for Democrats to focus on Russian antics so that they can ignore their own mistakes.

  56. Sadly, we can all highlight Mr. Trump’s dysfunctions…but at the end of the day we are now having to face the results—he is now the President of our United States. I am saddened and agree with the article that the results reflect our cultural degradation.

  57. You mean the Silver Star not silver cross and JFK did not receive it. Eventuality got the navy medal – a non combat award for saving the crew. There is good reason to believe JFK screwed up. His boat was rammed and sunk by an enemy destroyer. And his daddy put in a fix for the award after the war. Also note also that his record re woman abuse is no better than Trump’s.

    Absent these discrepancies, everything you said re the DT comparison is fine.

  58. Well said Rebecca,

    Long story short, As a Canadian looking in, I’m soaking all of this gravy, “I” mean all these comments. Who knows, in the future sinner vic, “I” mean, Philosopher Vic might get a chance to pontificate. LOL!
    God Bless America

  59. Manny, I posted links to the FBI/CIA/NSA report on Russian interference in our election as promised.

  60. No, it is very different. No one in our security agencies took that birther nonsense seriously for one second. However, they are taking the Russian involvement in our election very seriously.

  61. Of course Trump is a coarse, narcissistic, uninformed and unenlightened celebrity who has no business being president. But he’s not the first nor will he be the last. An uneducated, crass American public is responsible.

  62. Kennedy faced two crises that could were one error away from igniting total war: Berlin in 1961, Cuba in 1962. Kennedy remained calm, and kept every option open.

  63. No matter how much womanizing JFK may have privately engaged in(as did LBJ and possibly FDR), they would NEVER have engaged in such crass and crude bragging about grabbing women by the “pussy”- thankfully standards were higher and beter back in those far off days!

  64. Ok then, Ms. Hamilton. A final thought.
    Temporarily erasing reality does not change it.
    All my posts on Disqus are logical, tending conservative, with factual citation and in “public mode” for your consideration.
    The rest is between you, your ideology, and our God.
    Best regards

  65. I’m allowing this through to make it clear why you aren’t going to be posting here anymore. I don’t ban people from this blog, but I make an exception for those who talk about sexual assault this way. This is absolutely despicable. I don’t want to see you around here again.

  66. The America of 1961 would not have tolerated behavior like President Elect Trump’s from anyone in public life, including entertainers… in 1961, people had their heads bashed in for riding a bus while black. So let’s not pretend that they’re were better days.

  67. I’m not. Every era has its evils, including that one. But let’s not pretend that our public discourse has not been degraded.