A leading historian has predicted that Donald Trump’s presidency is likely to be the ‘second shortest’ in history.
Professor Ronald L Feinman claims that Mr Trump’s term will last ‘between the 31 days of William Henry Harrison, who died from pneumonia in 1841’ and the ‘199 days of James A. Garfield in 1881,’ who died 79 days into his presidency after being shot.
The historian thinks it likely that Mr Trump will be forced to resign, or impeached, within a matter of weeks.
Professor Feinman predicts that, even if his time in office is ‘dragged out, Mr Trump is unlikely to equal Zachary Taylor’s term of 16 months and 5 days. Taylor died as a result of a stomach-related illness in July 1850.
In a blog, Professor Feinman - who teaches at Florida Atlantic University - highlighted the forced resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, saying it had ‘rocked’ the Trump presidency.
Professor Feinman wrote: “[Mr Trump] having a security meeting over the North Korean missile test in public space at dinner in full vision of other guests is a sign of his failure to act responsibly.
“His inconsistent message in his dealings with China... is disturbing. His inconsistency on the two-state solution in the Middle East is a major problem, as is his seeming lack of respect for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.”
Professor Feinman also described Mr Trump’s treatment of the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a phone call as ‘alarming’.
Professor Feinman, who has authored a book titled Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama, also believes a Mike Pence presidency ‘seems inevitable’.
Referencing his 12 years in the House of Representatives and time as Governor of Indiana, Professor Feinman states that Mr Pence ‘knows how to play hard ball’, adding: “It is clear by his demeanour and body language that he is often uncomfortable with Trump’s freewheeling and careless behaviour.”
Mr Pence could invoke the 25th Amendment, Section 4 with the backing of a majority of the cabinet, making him ‘Acting President’, says Professor Feinman - even if Mr Trump vehemently opposed the move.
Prfoessor Feinman continues: “Some might call it a ‘palace coup’ but Pence could make a convincing case that it is too risky to leave Trump in power.
“Pence faces a great burden, and whether one agrees with his own agenda on domestic and foreign policy, it seems clear that the Vice President would do what he feels compelled to do if the situation further deteriorates.”
Shortest US presidential terms
1. William Henry Harrison, ninth US President - 31 days. Died after catching cold on the day of his inauguration that developed into a fatal case of pneumonia
2. James A. Garfield, 20th US President - 199 days. Died after succumbing to wounds sustained after being shot three months and 28 days into his presidency
3. Zachary Taylor, 12 US President - 491 days. Died from a stomach-related illness, possibly contracted after consuming large amounts of raw fruit and iced milk
4. Warren G. Harding, 29th US President - 881 days. Died of a cerebral haemorrhage after battling pneumonia and heart problems
5. Gerald Ford, 38th US President - 895 days. Ford served the rest of Nixon’s term but wasn’t elected to serve a full term