|Portrait of George Washington|
by Charles W. Peale (1775–76)
“While I realize the arduous nature of the task which is conferred on me and feel my inability to perform it, I wish there may not be reason for regretting the choice. All I can promise is only that which can be accomplished by an honest zeal.”A month into his Presidency, following the first quadrennial presidential election of 1789, Washington expressed the weight of his responsibility:
— George Washington, President elect, 1789
"I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent."In contrast, 57 quadrennial election cycles later, is a mashup of Mr. Trump’s fetishistic braggadocio as the presumptive GOP nominee for the same office:
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich. My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”Mr. Trump’s blind spot for his considerable limitations and inestimable weaknesses suggest he's, at best, capable of command-by-coercion like other infamous authoritarian strongmen.
— Mr. Trump
The capacity for honest self-reflection is a predictive indicator for successful leadership.