I agree with most of the sentiments in Liz Soares’ Jan. 19 column, “Don’t Turn Away from the News; we need it on Jan. 19,” but her comparison of Lyndon Johnson to Donald Trump is totally off the mark.

She may be too young to remember, but Johnson was a great president in most respects: he brought the country together after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and he ensured that Kennedy’s legislative legacies would be enacted, including the great Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Office of Economic Opportunity poverty programs and many others. He may occasionally have been crude, but he knew how to get things done in Washington and was very effective.

His Achilles’ heel, however, was Vietnam. It was his continuation of that war, begun under Kennedy, that proved his undoing. That was the major reason for his unpopularity and led to the rise of Sen. Eugene McCarthy as a symbol of Americans’ opposition to and fatigue with the war. Johnson realized that he would not be re-elected in 1968.

But many would regard him as among our great presidents despite that failing, and I don’t think anyone thought he was an “illegitimate president.” To compare him to Donald Trump in any respect is unfair and unjust.

Joan Sturmthal


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