White House spokesperson Sean Spicer called a report that Donald Trump has drained all the prestige out of the presidency untrue. “There are plenty of leaders around the world who look up to the American presidency,” Spicer said today at his daily press briefing. “There’s the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. There are some others. The point is, the American presidency is a powerful office that carries prestige no matter who occupies it.”
Spicer was reacting to a report by Samuel Greene and Nadia Petrograv of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government that the office of the president, which for generations has represented the most powerful leadership post in the world, has lost about 60 percent of its prestige since Donald Trump won election. The report, called “Shrinking Office: The Loss of America’s Position in the International Order,” cited leaders of other countries, including important allied countries in Europe and Asia, who laugh at Trump behind his back and make plans without him.
Greene, professor emeritus at Harvard and the co-chair of the Kennedy School of Government, said he worked with mathematicians at MIT to develop an algorithm that maps the decline in prestige in which the American presidency is held and found a 60 percent drop in just the last four months. “We expected to see a drop but 60 percent is shocking,” Green said. “Trump’s overseas trip really tanked the algorithm. The way he shoved Prime Minister Dusko Markovic of Montenegro, the way he flipped off the prime minister of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni, the way leaders throughout the summit disregarded him on major policy matters—all of these have resulted in a loss of prestige.”
On Twitter this morning, President Trump said the report is “fake news” released by “dishonest reporters” who are still unhappy that he won. “I killed it at the NATO summit,” he tweeted at 5:21 this morning. “Be nice to get credit for that but so-called media looking for bad news. No president has had better NATO summit than Trump. Must get rid of dishonest news filter!”
After his press briefing, Spicer distributed a handout to reporters that said Enele Sopoaga, prime minister of Tuvalu, Taneti Mamau, president of Kiribati, and Pakalitha Mosisili, prime minister of Lesotho, are other leaders who continue to hold the American presidency in high regard. “Even if the presidency is 60-percent less prestigious, it still has 40 percent of its prestige left. That’s more than the presidency of a lot of countries and more than these three leaders have combined,” Spicer said.
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