If the topic is character and the presidency, who had it in the past? How should the current president be rated? What should we look for in the future?

Those were the questions on Tuesday night, Oct. 3 at Grand Valley State University. For some answers they invited presidential historian Ronald White and political commentator and New York Times columnist David Brooks to headline a “Character and the Presidency” conversation.

Brooks and White have known, studied and written about many presidents.

“What are the consequences of electing a president with such a controversial character,” host Gleaves Whitney asked the panel.

“As I’ve written a thousand times, I’m not a fan,” said Brooks. “I think this is the most dysfunctional White House I’ve ever seen.”

“It's a tumultuous time,” said White. “I have no idea how it is going to play itself out.”

The Tuesday night event in the Hauenstein Center at GVSU was one of a series of programs exploring the presidency. Organizers say the goal is to promote ethical and effective leadership in the 21st century.

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