6 times Trump could have pivoted and saved himself from being the worst president ever
President Donald Trump delivers a speech/Screenshot

Donald Trump is historically unpopular and often named as the worst president ever.


For all his many, many failings, Trump is arguably the most independent president we've had since George Washington, being basically ambivalent toward his party's orthodoxy and relying on his own cult of personality to provide a bottomless well of support when he decides to buck the rest of the GOP.

Trump's lack of pivot has come as a surprise, since most experienced politicians understand the wisdom of a well-timed retreat.

In September 2017, Vox's Ezra Klein noted that observers kept expecting Trump's pivot—and only gave up on it after he bungled dozens of opportunities.

"It’s become a joke on politics Twitter that Trump’s pivot is always around the corner, that the media can’t stop announcing that this is the moment Trump finally became president," he wrote. "He is who he has always shown himself to be. He’s not changing."

Trump has consistently failed to lean on the loyalty of his supporters as a means of striking the type of compromises that might make him more likable and popular.

With the economy looking creaky and Democrats about to take over the House of Representatives, the Golden Age of Trumpism, such as it is, looks to be drawing to a close.

Here are some of his most notable missed opportunities to become a uniting statesman.

Trump could have moved to support Medicare for all on July 27, 2017

On the campaign trail, Trump promised universal healthcare.

"Everybody's got to be covered," he said. "I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now."

It's not like this would be very difficult: The United States would actually save money with universal healthcare. Universal healthcare is a good deal for everyone but insurance adjusters, as the American system has triple the administration costs of the rest of the world.

In other words, there's a strong "common sense" or "business" argument for universal healthcare. It would typically be a hard sell with the GOP, but given Trump's cultish support among his party, could he have gotten it done?

The day to try was July 27, 2017, after the GOP's long-promised overhaul of Obamacare imploded on the Senate floor.

What if Trump had responded by reverting to his campaign promise, and corralled enough support from the GOP to get it done?

Trump could have denounced Nazis after Charlottesville on August 12, 2017

Early in December, the funeral of ex-President George H.W. Bush resurfaced an interesting anecdote about the worst moment in the presidency of his son, George W. Bush.

Believe it or not, that was being criticized by a rapper on a telethon.

Yes, Dubya still chaffs about Kanye West saying he doesn't care about black people.

Trump's own version of that moment was his "good people on both sides" speech after a Nazi killed a protestor at a "free speech rally" in Charlottesville, Va.

That speech basically ended Trump's ability to be a uniter, causing many fellow Republicans to denounce him and leading to the dissolution of his "business advisory councils," as mainstream conservatives and boycottable businesses sought to distance themselves.

What if Trump had just come out and blamed the Nazis?

Trump could have moved away from nationalism after the firing of Steve Bannon on August 19, 2017

Trump fired his former chief adviser, Steve Bannon, in August 2017.

Reportedly, the firing happened partly because "moderates" in the West Wing, like Ivanka and Jared, didn't like Bannon or his policies.

Bannon then launched his own attacks on Trump, saying the president was incapable and even accusing Donald Trump Jr. of committing treason.

What if Trump had taken the opportunity to trash Bannonism and promise a new and more worldy version of his politics?

Trump could have laughed at himself at the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 28, 2018

Much of Trump's constant humiliation is born of his painful self-seriousness.

Since becoming a politician, he's been totally incapable of laughing at himself.

Reportedly, he was motivated to run because he was mocked by Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, and he's since shown every joke Obama made about him to basically be true.

The nadir of Trump's painful humorlessness was the 2018 correspondents dinner, hosted by comedian Michelle Wolf.

Wolf's biting routine was brutally hilarious, and Trump not only refused to go but let his team complain so much there will no longer be a roast.

What if Trump had just showed up and laughed along?

Trump could have pivoted on marijuana on November 8, 2018

While former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not exactly popular with anyone after Republicans turned on him over the Russia investigation, he was especially unpopular inside the marijuana community for his decades-old and very strident opposition to letting up on the drug war.

Trump is a teetotaler who has no especially strong feelings on marijuana, having said he'd support a bill to end the federal prohibition.

When Sessions was fired, cannabis advocates celebrated.

How much more excited would they have been had Trump simultaneously declared an end to the war on weed?

Agreed that Colin Kaepernick should quarterback the Washington football team on December 5, 2018

One of the great pyrrhic victories of the Trump presidency was his war against the NFL over players kneeling for the National Anthem.

After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled to protest police brutality, Trump led a jihad against the league that helped depress already declining TV ratings while further splintering the country.

As a result, Kaepernick is still out of the league, but making good money off an endorsement deal with Nike, much to the chagrin of Trump and other conservatives.

And NFL quarterback play continues to decline—especially in Washington, D.C. where the team blew its last chance at getting into the playoffs by fielding the notorious Mark "butt-fumble" Sanchez in a humiliating blow-out defeat.

Now, Washington's hated rival, the Dallas Cowboys, will go to the playoffs while Kaepernick is still out of the league.

How many brains would have exploded if Trump just tweeted out his desire to see Kaepernick under center in Washington?