President Trump’s rhetoric is rough, careless, often inaccurate. His language frequently undermines his policies, which are sometimes sound. Obama, on the other hand, has always preferred silky slights and mellifluous verbal assaults. Where Trump’s untruths tend to be crass and obvious, Obama’s are usually lawyerly and sly. But the result is ultimately the same: an understandable decline in Americans’ trust in their leaders.

The United States, for reasons that remain not entirely clear, has chosen two consecutive presidents whose personalities are grandiose, whose tolerance for opposing points of view is low, and whose language, though wildly different in tone and temperament, encourages Americans to sort themselves into blue and red teams and have at it.

We hope a leader soon emerges, from either party, who can reverse this unfortunate trend.