Another unpopular president tried to turn around his low numbers with a Fourth of July celebration — it didn't end well
President Donald Trump speaking at his 'Make America Great Again' campaign rally in Orlando, Florida (screengrab)

President Donald Trump may hope that by throwing a giant military parade and giving a grand speech this Fourth of July, he will impress people enough to turn around his dismal polling numbers.


If so, there is a historical example that the president might want to take as a cautionary tale: President Harry Truman.

As presidential historian Douglas Brinkley explained to CNN's Dana Bash on "Inside Politics," Truman — at the nadir of his popularity — tried to turn his image around with a similar grand statement on the Fourth of July. And he ultimately decided not to run for re-election at all.

"Very different time back July 4th, 1951," said Bash. "A big birthday for the president then. And that president was Harry Truman, and he gave a speech on the Mall talking about self-control, patriotism, faith and institutions. Meaning he gave a pretty political statement and speech at that time."

"Yeah," said Brinkley. "And Truman only had about 150,000 people there ... this was in the middle of the Korean War. Election cycle was coming up in 1952. They used to say he had a 27 percent approval rating. He thought by speaking at the Mall it might bring him up a little bit. It didn't, and Truman couldn't run for re-election."

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