Hostile historians may come to regard Donald Trump’s presidency as an aggregation of the lesser traits of his predecessors.
The bullying of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who demeaned White House aides and even humiliated his Vice-President Hubert Humphrey – forcing his deputy once to recite a speech on Vietnam while he listened, legs akimbo, trousers round his ankles, on the toilet.
The intellectual incuriosity of Ronald Reagan, who once apologised to his then White House Chief of Staff James Baker for not reading his briefing books with the immortal excuse: “Well, Jim, The Sound of Music was on last night.”
The shameless lies of Bill Clinton about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
The paranoia of Richard Nixon, who in his final days railed, King Lear-like, at portraits hanging on the White House walls.
The incompetence of George W Bush, whose failure to master basic governance partly explained his administration’s botched response to the aftermath of the war in Iraq and also to Hurricane Katrina.
The historical amnesia of Gerald Ford, whose assertion during a 1976 presidential debate that Eastern Europe was not dominated by Moscow was a forerunner of Trump’s recent endorsement of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The strategic impatience of Barack Obama, whose instinct always was to withdraw US forces from troublesome battlefields, such as Iraq, even if the mission had not yet been completed.
Even the distractedness of…