TIME

WHEN LEADERSHIP FAILS

BY JON MEACHAM
As Trump visited Pittsburgh on Oct. 30, protesters gathered near the Tree of Life synagogue

George Washington understood the stakes. “As the first of everything,” Washington wrote, whatever he did, substantially as well as stylistically, would “serve to establish a precedent.” In 1790, the first full year of Washington’s presidency, John Adams captured the cultural as well as the political significance of the office, writing: “His person, countenance, character, and actions, are made the daily contemplation and conversation of the whole people.” Adams’ great rival Thomas Jefferson agreed. “In a government like ours,” Jefferson wrote, “it is the duty of the Chief-magistrate, in order to enable himself to do all the good which his station requires, to endeavor, by all honorable means, to unite in himself the confidence of the whole people.”

On the eve of the

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