The moral case for (or against) a Trump presidential library

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump’s single term as president was historic. Now that he’s out of the White House, one last tradition people are wondering whether or not will be broken for him will be whether or not he will receive his own Presidential Library, and what this should look like. Let’s examine this issue.



FILE – In this Dec. 24, 2019, file photo President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media following a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Congressional Republicans are at a crossroads with Donald Trump. One branch of the party is keeping close to the former president, hoping to harness the power of his political brand for their campaigns. The other is splitting away and trying to chart a post-Trump future. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The Presidential Library: a tradition as American as apple pie for former presidents, yet so often misunderstood by the general public, even those of us political junkies. These libraries aren’t simply places to check out books, or read silently with a cup of coffee, but rather scholarly institutions, harboring artifacts from the subject’s presidency, including documents, executive orders, and other items and memorabilia.

This has tended to be a more modern tradition, with libraries for presidents newer than Franklin D. Roosevelt becoming commonplace. With Presidents up to George W. Bush, the tally of establishments at this point is up to 13, with a Barack Obama Presidential Library currently in the works. One question on many people’s minds is, now that Donald Trump is now out of the White House, should he have his own library?

First of all, one factor that may lead many to wish to disbar him from having his own presidential library would be the events of 2020 and 2021. From many railing against his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and response to the 2020 election-which would lead to the January 6 Capitol riot-people may think that federal funding shouldn’t be used to help with his library’s construction.

This wouldn’t be an issue, however, as unlike your friendly neighborhood library, presidential libraries are completely privately funded, meaning, if Trump still has the means to pay for it, or if he racks up political donations as he has in the past for his endeavor, he may be able to continue.

Second of all, the presidential library’s collections have been protected by federal funds under the Presidential Historical Records Preservation Act of 2008, and therefore receive yearly funds to preserve their quality for future generations. These funds, if used correctly, should be no issue.

Now, if Trump did want to open his own presidential library, which he seems already eager to do, he and his advisors should take some moral considerations into it as well. Despite the fact that he is a former president, he is still a figurehead of the Republican party, and therefore his actions can – and have proven to be – impressionable on his peers in his party.

Therefore, while many historical documents in other presidential libraries haven’t aged well, and may be offensive to some nowadays too, many of President Trump’s recent actions that would be displayed are still affecting our country now. If he wants to display his administration’s accomplishments the right way, Trump should, at least, attempt to acknowledge some of the shortcomings of his presidency, as well as his accomplishments.

So, while many may wish to disbar the controversial former president from having his own library to display his administration’s history, I believe that while he may have had his downs, he should, like any other president, have his right to due process, and therefore be able to have his own museum. If he does, however, he should go about it very carefully, as to make it accessible to people down both sides of the aisle.