Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin says true leadership is about character

Historians in the News
tags: presidential history, Trump

Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Lincoln, Roosevelt and other revered presidents, said that presidential leadership was defined by character in an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast. Goodwin praised President Abraham Lincoln because of his integrity and his character.

"What is character? It's humility, it's empathy, it's understanding other people's point of views, it's openness to listening, it's controlling negative emotions. It's being able to create a team of people who may be stronger and smarter than you are, but you're going to use them," Goodwin said, drawing an implicit comparison between Lincoln and President Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump has often been criticized for his lack of character, including by those in his own party. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post this week criticizing Mr. Trump and saying that "the president has not risen to the mantle of the office."

"With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent's shortfall has been most glaring," Romney wrote.

Goodwin said that Lincoln was a "good person who became a great leader -- and that's an unusual thing in politics." She also argued that President Teddy Roosevelt could have successfully challenged Trump today.

Read entire article at CBS News

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