This objection was used by both prosecutor Hamilton Burger and attorney for the defense, Perry Mason, in the old television series and is applicable to a recent USA Today section headline, “Trump: Litigator in Chief.” The subheading goes on to say that “Exclusive USA Today analysis finds 3,500 lawsuits, unprecedented for a presidential nominee.”2
This blogger is not objecting to the possibility that Trump’s firms may have been involved with that number of legal actions and that it could very well be a “first” for a presidential nominee. Giving credit where credit is due, the article does raise an interesting thought that this data could indicate what style of leader he might be because his negotiating skills appear hard-nosed. So what? It would actually be a relief to have a leader who was at peace defending America’s values and interests — something which has been sadly lacking in the White House since January 20, 2009.
Back to candidate Trump. It is use of the word “unprecedented” that raises the objection. The implied criticism could be valid if the United States has had previous Presidents who were heavily involved in the world of big business. But to date, we have had — zero. Top occupations for previous Presidents are as follows3 (as most commanders-in-chief had several occupations before being elected, even just the top three jobs have a sum in excess of the 44 Presidents we have had):
#1) Lawyer 25
#2) Congressmen 17
#3) Governor 16
#4) Senator 15
#5) Vice President 13
#6) Soldier 12
#7) Schoolteacher 4
#7) Secretary of State 4
#9) Diplomat 3
#9) Professor 3
Trump total of lawsuits doesn’t make him a risky choice just because his number of lawsuits seems high to those of us who have not spent four decades in big business. His total simply cannot be compared to any other President in our history. Using the USA Today’s implication, Reagan would have been dismissed as a viable candidate because he probably had the most poor movie reviews. Of course, he was the only President who was an actor in his list of occupations.
This is certain. If Hillary Clinton is elected, she will bring an unprecedented list of unsavory deeds that will bring relief to supporters of the memories of Presidents Grant, Harding and Nixon by redirecting the spotlight of notoriety to her.
1 – “(often stated together, which may mean the question is not about the issues in the trial or the witness is not qualified to answer)” — http://dictionary.law.com/default.aspx?selected=1364
2 – From the USA Today 6/2/2016 issue, Section B.