C-SPAN ranks Donald Trump near bottom of effective presidents list

FILE – In this June 1, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington. An internal investigation has determined that the decision to clear racial justice protestors from an area in front of the White House last summer was not influenced by then-President Donald Trump’s plans for a photo opportunity at that spot. The report released Wednesday by the Department of Interior’s Inspector General concludes that the protestors were cleared by U.S. Park Police on June 1 of last year so new fencing could be installed. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — C-SPAN’s Presidential Historians Survey 2021 has ranked former President Donald Trump near the bottom of a list of presidents ranked by effectiveness.

Trump was ranked number 41 in the list but shared the same score as President Franklin Pierce with a score of 312. Pierce is known for signing the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed territories to determine whether they would legalize slavery upon their application for statehood.

In contrast, the survey ranks several notable presidents in the top 10, including Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, both Roosevelts, Ronald Reagan, and Trump’s predecessor and the first black president, Barack Obama. Lincoln’s reputation has remained the strongest, having been ranked number 1 since the first Presidential Historians Survey in 2000.

President Final Score Overall Rankings by Score
Abraham Lincoln 897 1
George Washington 851 2
Franklin D. Roosevelt 841 3
Theodore Roosevelt 785 4
Dwight D. Eisenhower 734 5
Harry S. Truman 713 6
Thomas Jefferson 704 7
John F. Kennedy 699 8
Ronald Reagan 681 9
Barack Obama 664 10
Lyndon B. Johnson 654 11
James Monroe 643 12
Woodrow Wilson 617 13
William McKinley 612 14
John Adams 609 15
James Madison 604 16
John Quincy Adams 603 17
James K. Polk 599 18
William J. Clinton 594 19
Ulysses S. Grant 590 20
George H. W. Bush 585 21
Andrew Jackson 568 22
William Howard Taft 543 23
Calvin Coolidge 535 24
Grover Cleveland 523 25
Jimmy Carter 506 26
James A. Garfield 506 27
Gerald R. Ford 498 28
George W. Bush 495 29
Chester A. Arthur 472 30
Richard M. Nixon 464 31
Benjamin Harrison 462 32
Rutherford B. Hayes 456 33
Martin Van Buren 455 34
Zachary Taylor 449 35
Herbert Hoover 396 36
Warren G. Harding 388 37
Millard Fillmore 378 38
John Tyler 354 39
William Henry Harrison 354 40
Donald J. Trump 312 41
Franklin Pierce 312 42
Andrew Johnson 230 43
James Buchanan 227 44
Rankings by the C-SPAN Presidential Historians Survey 2021

The Historians Survey took input from 142 historians, professors, and observers of the presidency who ranked the presidents from one (not effective) to 10 (very effective) on 10 qualities. These included public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic management, moral authority, international relations, administrative skills, relations with Congress, vision/setting an agenda, “pursued equal justice for all,” and performance within context of times.

The responses were then averaged in their given categories and contributed to the presidents’ final scores.

The survey showed that Trump’s worst categories were moral authority and international relations, with him being ranked dead last among the 44 presidents included in the survey.


(Note: While Donald Trump is known as the 45th president, he is the 44th person to hold the office. This is because of Grover Cleveland’s two non-consecutive’ terms that make him the 22nd and 24th president.

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