Presidential historian pens book on 'Trump's First Year'

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - One of the country's best known presidential historians lives in Memphis.

Rhodes College Professor Michael Nelson has just finished a book called "Trump's First Year."

He said a lot of research went into the writing the book.

"Really my goal was not to take a side, not to be pro or con Trump, but to help people understand Trump in the broad context of  American history," Nelson said.

Nelson's new book takes readers on the rollercoaster ride the 45th president has taken.

You have to get up early every morning to write a book about a President's first year and publish it exactly 365 days later:

"He hasn't even started tweeting yet, that's how early I get up," Nelson said.

Nelson's book is a scholarly study. He said the 45th President came to office without a basic understanding of American government.

"This is a president who knows nothing about the Constitution," Nelson said. "One time he told Republican members of the House: I'm going to defend Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 12 and all the rest of them. Well, there are only 7 articles. That's how little he knows."

Nelson said Trump is the first president to use social media as a tool of presidential leadership.

Trump's tweets keep him in constant contact with the 35 to 40 percent of Americans who support him:

"What he doesn't do really is reach out to the other 60, 65 percent of the American people," Nelson said.

Trump's tweets have made the world nervous, especially on nukes and North Korea:

"But calling the leader of another country that has nukes Little Rocket Man? That's playing with fire," Nelson said.
Nelson said Trump came to office with a Republican Congress but was unable to deliver much in his first year.

"The tax bill certainly and the Supreme Court nomination, but you'd expect more," Nelson said.

Deregulation of business has delivered a soaring stock market.  But Nelson said Trump's business background of real estate and branding have yet to translate to deal-making with Congress, not that the professor expects Trump will change.

"He's a 71-year-old man who in his own eyes has been successful at everything he's ever done - including getting elected President," Nelson said.

The last chapter of Nelson's book examines "prospects for removal," with a special counsel's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as articles of impeachment filed in Trump's first year:

"It's mind-blowing," Nelson said. "It's hard to imagine having written the book about any other president's first year."

Nelson's book is available at Novel in East Memphis.

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