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  • Arthur Bacon

Open Letter to Donald Trump (New York Times)

Updated: Mar 22, 2021


Dear Mr. Trump,

You have said that Barack Obama “has been the worst president ever.” I think he is one of the best presidents. So who is right? I suggest we put our money where our mouths are; that we make a wager of significant sums of money for each of us, proportionately of course; say, one million dollars for you (a successful billionaire businessman) and a thousand dollars for me (an unsuccessful photographer largely dependent on Social Security). The winner of this wager will be our prep schools: New York Military Academy for you and Wyoming Seminary for me.

Here’s the deal. Our money will go into some form of interest-accruing trust. Then, in thirty years, the editor-in-chief of the New York Times will make ten phone calls to the chairpersons of the history departments of: Harvard, Yale, Penn, Vassar, Duke, Denver, Syracuse, Michigan, North Carolina and Stanford universities and ask those individuals (whose job it is to know such things) the following question: “Would you rank Barack Obama among the better presidents or among the inferior presidents?” If six of these learned persons says “Inferior,” then New York Military Academy gets the dough. If six of them aver that he was one of the better presidents then Wyoming Seminary gets the money.

Needless to say, you and I won’t be around to congratulate and toast each other’s prescience but I think that this is a worthy cause and I hope you will have the good humor and eagerness to play this little game.

I remain sincerely, awaiting your reply by letter to this esteemed newspaper.

Arthur Bacon

P.S. I know you are a very impatient, get-it-done-now kind of guy so I would be willing to make the bet and call the historians right now with this question: “Do you think Barack Obama will go down in history as one of the better presidents or one of the inferior presidents.” Same wager except that our respective schools won’t get all that nice interest, but at least we will have gotten it over with.

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