Being the President has to be one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. Not only are people actively trying to murder you, you have the constant pressure of being called the leader of the free world and being slandered and pilloried on a daily basis.
As well as training to provide physical safety from an assassin’s bullet, does the President have any special psychological care made available to ensure he doesn’t have a breakdown? The closest I’ve heard is the Secret Service being worried about Nixon towards the end of his presidency, namely worried he would top himself.
True enough, but knowing that a legion of armed nutjobs want you dead is the kind of thing that would cause any psychologically healthy human some sleepless nights. Does the Secret Service just tell them to simply put it out of their minds completely - they’ll protect them or die trying? And don’t watch the Zapruder film or Lincoln?
Anyone rich, powerful, and/or famous has the potential to be harmed, kidnapped, killed by all sorts of folks. Just being a serious candidate for POTUS puts you in that position for an extended period of time. Call it on the job training.
This is an important point that many don’t realize. Every president since Grover Cleveland had been either a governor or senator before that, with very few exceptions, and even those exceptions are remarkable:
[li]George H. W. Bush was a lowly congressman for 4 years, but after that he became Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Director of the CIA, and Vice-POTUS.[/li][li]Gerald Ford was a congressman for almost 25 years, the last 9 of which were as House Minority Leader. And then a few years as VP.[/li][li]Eisenhower was President of Columbia University, and then Chief of Staff of the Army and Supreme Allied Commander Europe.[/li]Hoover was Secretary of Commerce, and not much else that I could find. Okay, I guess he’s the exception to the rule. Either that, or he was a transition sort of guy. Go further back and you’ll find many more cases of limited prior experience.[/ul]
At least, anyone who does answer it, is unlikely to provide an accurate answer.
Anyone who knows the answer is very unlikely to post the truth in public - except to say something that sounds very good but doesn’t really tell you anything. Not a damn thing! It would go something like this:
The President of the USA is one of the most important jobs in the world. So, naturally the people responsible for his health and safety ensure they do everything possible to provide him with all the tools he can use to have a safe and healthy life.
The American people deserve nothing less than excellence from all their presidents over the years.
See what I mean? Sound familiar?
Now I’m thinking that it might be fun to have a contest to see who could say the least with the most amount of words and I wonder if that might be a requirement to get hired as a public spokesperson.
ISTM by the time you’re a viable candidate you’d better be able to get over it or you’ll have a breakdown on the campaign trail. In that sense the long, hard, 24hr-cycle campaign culls out those who can’t take it. Those who have been veterans under fire (eg JFK, McCain, Bush41), or who have previous long careers in politics (LBJ, Ford, Hillary) or high-pressure corporate suites, may have an advantage in dealing with it but there’s people who just have a knack for it. Or, maybe you’ve got just a bit of a sociopathic streak. Nixon only became a cause for concern towards the end when the world was crashing down around him.
Of course someone would say this is how come the POTUS handlers traditionally did not much mind the ocassional intern under the desk or some late-hours bourbon-fueled card games.
I’d guess that the special training, as far as personal safety goes at least, is limited to a very stern statement from the head of the Secret Service detail: “When one of us says ‘get down,’ get your ass six inches high in the mud.”
You have to have an enormous ego to consider taking on the job in the first place; knowing that people are actively trying to kill must be power trip in and of itself. So yeah, shoving the guy down and throwing yourself in front of him is about all you can do with someone who is constantly being told that he is the most powerful man on the planet. They spend more effort trying to take control of the event/venue than they do trying to control the actual man.
Small nitpick: Ford was VP for only about 8 months. He was nominated for VP when Agnew resigned, and was confirmed by Congress and sworn in on December 6, 1973. He was then sworn in as President upon Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974.
[li]George H. W. Bush was a lowly congressman for 4 years, but after that he became Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Director of the CIA, and Vice-POTUS.[/ul][/li][/QUOTE]
Think what you will about his political positions; but GHWB had been around the block a few times by the time he became POTUS, unlike his doofic wunder-kind. The dude had some high-level political experience. We need more like this in our POTI, past, present, and future.
Keeve forgot to mention: He was also Chief of the Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China, and also United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
Who’s going to mandate the training? Who comes up with the curriculum and administers the training? What happens when the president tells the trainer to fuck off?
If the president wants some pointers on how to deal with stress, he calls up his old mentors and cronies, and shoots the shit with them. If he wants some pointers on the law, he calls up the White House Counsel–his private lawyer–and asks questions. If he wants an update on the situation in the Persian Gulf, he calls up the Pentagon and gets a briefing.
In other words, the President gets told stuff all day every day, but it’s because the President feels it is his job to listen to the stuff. You get to give the President a briefing on how to use Excel when his Chief of Staff calls you up and tells you the President wants to see you, you can have 15 minutes on Thursday, not because you’re the official President Trainer.
Taking this one further - how much authority does the Secret Service have over him? If the Pres wanted to do an hours-long speech in broad daylight in the middle of Central Park, advertise it months in advance and stand in front of a giant red X on the city’s annual ‘we love sniper rifles’ festival, could he just tell the Secret Service to piss off when they tell him that’s a tremendously bad idea?