The April CNN poll showing 55 percent of Americans saying that Donald Trump’s presidency was a success, with 44 percent remembering it to be a failure, stands in stark contrast with the public assessment of his performance while he was still in office.

In January 2021, in his last weeks in office, just 41 percent told CNN pollsters that Trump’s presidency was a success, and 55 percent deemed it a failure. Keep in mind that Trump was the only Oval Office occupant in the 70 years of modern political polling never to reach a 50 percent approval level in the Gallup survey. Fully two-thirds of Americans disapproved of his performance as president in the final Gallup poll of his tenure. His final job-approval rating of 34 percent was the lowest of any president leaving office in Gallup’s history, hardly a rousing send-off or affirmation of his four years in office.

What are we to make of these divergent views about Trump’s presidency? What explains this political resurrection in the public’s assessment of his performance? Is the old proverb correct that

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