Let's face it: presidents are politicians, and politicians rarely make good role models. That's just the nature of the job. While the office of the presidency is incredibly important, let's not idealize the past. There have been presidents who have done truly reprehensible things and have held vile opinions. What's more important is what a president achieves in their term. Their character is secondary.
This whole “role model” question reveals one of the limitations of democracy. Because our leaders can only rule by our consent, we ignore their obvious flaws — their egos, their vanities, their ignorance — because not doing so would make it impossible for us to vote for anyone.
Then, once we elect these fairly average human beings, we expect them to transcend our petty differences and solve the intractable problems that make our lives difficult. But that’s not humanly possible. So we should stop even debating whether they are role models. They are not.
It would be preferable to have a president who was a good person. But maybe there’s an upside to the election of a president who so many Americans see as deeply morally flawed. Every president and his defenders try to blur the line between the man and the office: sneer at the man and they’ll accuse you of disrespecting the office – casually ignoring how the president disrespected the public.