Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Questions of Character: The Presidency of Donald J. Trump

Robert C. Smith
Questions of Character: The Presidency of Donald J. Trump
ISBN: 978-1-955055-08-6
ISBN: 978-1-955055-09-3
ISBN: 978-1-955055-49-9
2021/197 pages/LC: 2021030416
"Anyone interested in the Trump presidency and how character affects policy will want to read this book." —James Pfiffner, George Mason University


Conversations about Donald Trump often begin with the question: how did he become president? In Questions of Character, Robert Smith provides some compelling answers based on his assessment of the role that personality and character played leading up to and during Trump's term in office.

Smith traces the impact of Trump's character on the conduct of domestic and foreign policy, the  organization of the White House staff and decisionmaking processes, and the habitual use of inflammatory rhetoric to advance policies and rally and sustain the "Make America Great Again" constituency. He also looks at Trump's reaction to defeat in the 2020 election. The result is a comprehensive exploration of the consequences of Trump’s character—personal, presidential, and democratic—during this contentious period in US presidential history.


Robert C. Smith is professor emeritus of political science at San Francisco State University. His numerous publications include Polarization and the Presidency: From FDR to Barack Obama (coauthored with Richard Seltzer) and John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, and the Politics of Ethnic Incorporation and Avoidance.


  • The Trump Presidency: Examining Coolly in a Hot Time.
  • The Context of the 2016 Presidential Election.
  • The Importance of Presidential Personality and Character.
  • Trump's Character: A Developmental Biography.
  • Presidential Character and Trumpian Rhetoric.
  • Presidential Character and Trump's Domestic Policy.
  • Presidential Character and Trump's Foreign Policy.
  • Does Personal Character Matter?
  • How Did Trump Become President?
  • Democratic Character and the 2020 Election.
  • The Trump Legacy: Speculating on the Future.