WASHINGTON — Many Americans have regarded Donald Trump as a buffoon or a bankruptcy-prone business guy with a flair for reality TV who ultimately would do little harm. Many now think he is the most dangerous president in U.S. history.

Here are their arguments:

• Trump disparages the rule of law, the foundation for democracy. He argues that he has absolute power over the Department of Justice. He fired the FBI director without cause. He is trying to purge government of anyone who disagrees with him. He advocates jailing political opponents.

• He is systematically ruining Americans' vital respect for the integrity of institutions such as the FBI, the IRS and the nation's intelligence services. Many Americans now despise the NFL for reasons conjured out of thin air by Trump.

• He has made the country a laughingstock among former allies, who no longer believe the United States stands for justice, human rights and freedom and won't follow its lead.

• He is taunting North Korea's unstable dictator who boasts his nation is close to having nuclear weapons that can reach the United States. "But it (the U.S. nuclear button) is much bigger and more powerful than his and my Button works." His lack of civility and decorum is staggering.

• He is unpatriotic. Despite absolute proof that Russia interfered in U.S. elections, Trump refuses to acknowledge it and has done nothing to prevent future attacks. He continues to praise Vladimir Putin, a world pariah, corrupt thug and murderer.

• He is undermining the role of the federal government in every aspect of American life. In just the last few days, while Americans were celebrating the holidays and he was playing golf (which he did for more than 100 days of his one-year presidency), he took the following actions. He disbanded the federal HIV/AIDS panel, weakened regulations on fracking and those designed to protect Americans from another Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. He is permitting industry to kill migratory birds with impunity. He is reducing fees on nursing homes found guilty of harming patients. He is refusing to honor a commitment to improve Amtrak. Thousands of federal enforcement jobs are being vacated.

• He is using the presidency to make millions. The tax bill benefits him and his family enormously. Foreigners are flocking to his clubs and resorts. His daughter got new licenses to do business in China. He grants access to people who want favors if they pay $200,000 to join Mar-a-Lago. Oh, yes, Trump just gave a Chilean mining firm whose owner rents a house to Ivanka Trump mining rights likely to impact the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota.

• He has declared war on the First Amendment, disparaging the free press and trying to undermine Americans' reliance on facts to determine what they think. Millions now regard any negative information reported about Trump as false because he says so.

• He does not know what he is doing. He pulled out of the global climate agreement because he falsely thinks that cold weather means the climate is not changing. He does not understand the nuances of diplomacy. He has no respect for science. He doesn't read books or briefing papers.

• He is still trying to ban and deport immigrants because of their religion.

• He is stacking the courts with people who are loyal to him, and he believes he is above the law.

• He is widening the gap between rich and poor. He is trying to rig the Census so that millions who disagree with him are not counted, thus reducing their voice in Congress. He is trying to change voting laws so that those who disagree with him are disenfranchised.

Trump is about to complete one year of a four-year term. The country is already changed, perhaps forever. He intends to run again in 2020. Isn't it interesting how one person can make such a difference in a country with 325 million people.

Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at amcfeatters@nationalpress.com.