Humility was once considered a vital quality for anyone aspiring to be President. After all, a readiness to recognize and acknowledge mistakes is crucial to correcting them.
President Donald Trump doesn't have that quality.
He frequently speaks about himself in superlatives, falsely assuring the public he's done more than any first-term President in history and that he's been victimized worse than any of them as well.
Such was the case in a Fox News town hall on Sunday night, when the President—in front of the Lincoln Memorial—said he'd been treated worse than Lincoln by the press.
The moment came when one of the President's own supporters implored him to stop using bullying language and to relinquish the qualities that don't serve him.
"I am greeted with a hostile press, the likes of which no President has ever seen. The closest would be that gentleman right up there [pointing to Lincoln] .They always said nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse."
As usual, the facts didn't align with Trump's claims, as renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin pointed out in a scathing rebuke on CNN.
"It's an incredible statement when you think about it. You can't compare the time, either. Yes, it's true the country is split now in a partisan way. Yes, it's true that we have a divided media. But we were talking about a civil war with Abraham Lincoln, 600,000 people dying, a North and a South that had entirely different interpretations of what was going on. Let us never think that we're going back to such a period of time."
She went on to tell Trump of a more productive way to compare himself to past presidents:
"How much better if you can just use the understanding of free press is part of what we are...rather, compare yourself to other presidents who've led us through crisis and who've done things that you can learn from. That would be so much better use of his time."
People agreed that the comparison of Trump to Lincoln was far from apt.
Lincoln: Our most literate president. Trump: Our most illiterate president. Lincoln: Our most thoughtful president… https://t.co/X1K3Cp47XL— Richard Stengel (@Richard Stengel)1588592505.0
Last night, Trump used Lincoln’s legacy as a political prop. But presidents don’t earn a place in history by procl… https://t.co/98034ngY9W— Adam Schiff (@Adam Schiff)1588633873.0
Lincoln might disagree with that . https://t.co/qpS2qCvldc— Eamon Melia 🏴☠️#TalkToVera (@Eamon Melia 🏴☠️#TalkToVera)1588617609.0
Trump's preoccupation with blasting basic media scrutiny is damaging—and some considered it an insult to Lincoln's legacy.
The Lincoln Memorial, to me, is a sacred place. I visit it every time I go to D.C. Last night, Trump desecrated it. https://t.co/nRE9eb5lXS— Dr. Jack Brown (@Dr. Jack Brown)1588627374.0
President Trump chose to sit inside the Lincoln Memorial — a solemn and hallowed place — to berate the press, play… https://t.co/6cxFgWJiZk— Archive: Senator Tom Udall (@Archive: Senator Tom Udall)1588637397.0
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” - President Lincoln Could… https://t.co/uLdSbBojN0— patmcgill (@patmcgill)1588553839.0
In case you were wondering if Trump had a change of heart...
Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of Lincoln and his administration is available here.