Every president takes his (or her) own unique path to the White House, but the ascent of President-Elect Donald J. Trump has truly been unlike anything we’ve seen before. Trump has gone from rich kid to real-estate mogul, from bankrupt to “The Celebrity Apprentice,” and from leader of the birther movement to leader of the free world. And with no previous political experience, it’s fair to wonder whether the Oval Office will suit him.
So will President-Elect Donald Trump grab the bull by the “wherever” and fulfill his promise to “make America great again”? Or will we find ourselves worse off and wishing we could say, “You’re fired”? It can be difficult to put politics aside when contemplating such questions, especially so soon after such a contentious election, but our expert panel is up to the task.
In search of more insight into what we can expect from at least the next four years, we asked experts in the fields of economics, finance, public policy and more to answer one simple question: Will Donald Trump be a good president? All in all, thirteen experts say no, sixteen vote yes and five are on the fence. You can check out their responses below. And if you’d like to weigh in with a theory of your own, please share your thoughts in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.
Yes, Donald Trump Will Be A Good President
- "State elected officials like me are very excited about the opportunities ahead. That’s particularly true about prospects for cutting back the regulatory overload that has stalled our economy. The last eight years have brought mountains of red tape, keeping the private sector from creating jobs, threatening our energy independence, and leaving American entrepreneurship in a holding pattern afraid to move forward."
Lynn Fitch // Treasurer of the State of Mississippi & Chair of the State Financial Officers Foundation
- "I am optimistic about a Trump presidency. As an advocate for entrepreneurs and small businesses who has worked now through four Administrations, I have generally held an optimistic view when there is a change of leadership in the White House. It presents a new opportunity to work with new people to advance policies, new programs and solutions that will benefit entrepreneurship and small business growth."
Karen Kerrigan // President & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
- "In foreign policy, Trump has decades of experience in business negotiations, with his large fortune indicative of his skills therein. Reducing America’s role internationally does not, as his critics charge, equate to isolationism, nor does it mean abandoning America’s global leadership role. In fact, isolationism would run directly counter to Trump’s pledge to make America great again. By contrast with previous administrations, he would pick and choose what issues the United States becomes involved in, rather than expending its blood and treasure in draining and destabilizing conflicts whose spillover effects threaten to overwhelm Western values."
June Teufel Dreyer // Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami & Former Commissioner of the Congressionally Mandated U.S-China Economic and Security Commission
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No, Donald Trump Will Be A Bad President
- "Donald Trump is destined to go down as the most incompetent and corrupt president in modern history and perhaps of all time. He was the first major party candidate in American history to have had no experience in either government or the military and it shows. Many have asserted his incredibly thin resume is an asset since it will allow him to 'drain the swamp' in Washington. To the extent Trump changes things, however, it will make things worse."
Dennis Jett // Professor of International Affairs at Pennsylvania State University & Former Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru
- "There is not a single economist of any repute that is helping the President-elect formulate economic policy. This is akin to having a businessman design a bridge without the help on a single engineer."
Laurence J. Kotlikoff // William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor at Boston University
- "President-Elect Trump already is the most divisive American leader in modern U.S. history, and the least qualified. There still is time for him to demonstrate pragmatic flexibility, but the learning curve he faces is a very steep one and thus far, he has not shown any interest in working to address it. Nor do any of his advisers, appointments, and nominations thus far – perhaps with the sole exception of Governor Nikki Hayley, his nomination for Ambassador to the United Nations – seem to be voices of moderation. America and Americans face a difficult, potentially dangerous four years."
Alistair Edgar // Executive Director of the Academic Council on the UN System & Associate Professor of Political Science at the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University
- "If [Trump's] policies are implemented successfully (which I doubt), they will create discord and division at best, and economic and social upheavals at worst. ... Trump and his supporters seem confident that he will use his business acumen to conquer a large, unwieldy government apparatus. But being a businessman doesn’t prepare you to run the executive branch, whether you’re a micro-manager like Jimmy Carter or a hands-off executive like George W. Bush."
Sunita Parikh // Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis
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On the Fence
- "The election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States is a moment of great peril and of great opportunity. The great problem is that it is hard to know which. ... Clean our own house, President Trump, and the jobs will come. Block the gains from free trade and everyone at home and abroad will end up worse. Your call."
Richard A. Epstein // Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University Law School & James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Chicago Law School
- "Since his victory in the election, Donald Trump has 'walked back' many of his campaign pronouncements—on waterboarding, on the Affordable Care Act, on the total ban on Muslim immigration, on the prosecution of his opponent, among others. It is entirely possible that, once in the Oval Office, his inchoate plans to compel America’s transatlantic and transpacific allies to contribute more to their defense or risk losing the American pledge of extended deterrence will also fall by the wayside. Or he may stick to his guns, in which case he will upend America’s global security commitments that have been in place since the 1950s."
William R. Keylor // Director of the International History Institute at Boston University
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