Trump could be barred from prestigious Presidents Club after vicious potshots against living predecessors
The upcoming book on former occupants of the White House throws light on how relations between the incumbent and his predecessors have deteriorated
Donald Trump, the 45th president of the US, is set to be banished from the club of the country’s living presidents when his term ends for offending them and breaking the unspoken conventions set by them, a new book has revealed.
Trump has criticized all his living predecessors and failed to honor them, considered ‘cardinal sins’ in the high-profile club of former commanders-in-chief. According to a new book ‘Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump’ written by Kate Anderson Brower which is due to be out next week, Trump’s living predecessors feel the ‘mantle of decency that used to rest with the sitting president has now fallen to the men who used to hold that job’. The book reveals that Trump will not be welcomed by a group he sees as a bunch of establishment elitists, Daily Mail, which obtained a copy, reported exclusively.
Among Trump’s living predecessors are Barack Obama (2009-17), George W Bush (2001-2009), Bill Clinton (1993-2001) and Jimmy Carter (1977-81). George H W Bush (1989-1993) is the last president to have died in November 2018.
Trump has been particularly critical of his immediate predecessor Obama who he has recently attacked for ‘Obamagate’, a crime he claims his predecessor is guilty of though there is no specific evidence about it.
Either ignore Trump's insults or hit back
Brower’s book says that with the rise of an unconventional leader in Trump, the Presidents Club has been caught between two choices, either ignore his insults and let him single-handedly run the conversation or speak up and break the club’s tradition.
The book recalls that before the arrival of Trump, all the ex-presidents got along out of their respect for the institution of the presidency, the most revered post in American politics - irrespective of their party affiliations. The unofficial rules of the Presidents Club included: honor a shared history; do not criticize the incumbent under any circumstances; respect the office and the individual; unite in times of tragedy and respect the White House.
Trump, who took over in January 2017, hasn’t cared for any such conventions and has found an enemy in almost everybody.
The maverick Republican came under the criticism of his fellow partyman George W Bush when he said at his inauguration address that the country was suffering ‘American carnage’. He attacked Obama, both at a personal level and his administration and even called the White House a ‘dump’. Obama though has spoken against Trump occasionally in public.
Brower’s book states that it is ‘extraordinary’ that Trump has not gone to the predecessors for advice and even the worst relationship between previous presidents in history was unlike what it is today.
Trump’s ‘'scorched earth path he's chosen has made it impossible to maintain friendships or even civility with the men who once occupied the Oval Office. There has always been intense partisanship in politics but before Donald Trump there was also a chance for real connection and empathy,’ the book reads.
As a result of his non-complying stance, Trump will also ‘not receive a warm welcome’ once he leaves office, the author notes. Leon Panetta, Obama’s former secretary of defense feels the former presidents view the incumbent as damaging to the president’s office.
Late president George H W Bush also had a disliking for Trump and he was surprised by the latter’s rise in the GOP. He was particularly offended by Trump’s attack on late John McCain, a Vietnam war veteran. Trump has also criticized his decision to attack Iraq in the early 1990s. Bush Senior, however, decided to keep a low profile vis-a-vis Trump. The current president attended his funeral along with FLOTUS Melania Trump in end 2018 but there, the rapport between George W Bush and Melania’s predecessor Michelle Obama showed the Trumps more out of place in comparison.
During one of the presidential debates in 2016, Trump brought with him a number of women whose names were allegedly linked with another predecessor Bill Clinton in sexual scandals as he took on his spouse Hillary in the wake of sexual allegations against himself.
When Donald tried to 'exploit' Ronald's legacy
Trump, in fact, even succeeded in offending the family of another former president who was long dead by the time he entered the White House and it was Ronald Reagan (1981-89). After his 2016 win, Trump tweeted a photo of himself shaking hands with one of America’s most charismatic presidents and that did not go down well with Reagan’s late wife Nancy. ‘Not a fan’ of Trump, Nancy did not appreciate candidates using her late husband’s legacy for their own political interests. Apparently Nancy had used the term ‘silly’ to describe Trump to her friends. She, though, did not live to see Trump becoming the president.
The 95-year-old Carter, surprisingly, is one of the ex-presidents who seems to have done the best in getting along with Trump. The former Democratic president has also been ‘punished’ occasionally through suspensions from the club for criticizing his successors like George W Bush for invading Iraq and Clinton for lifting sanctions on Cuba.
Asked if the Presidents Club were a team, the one-time president had replied: “You can't put all the Presidents in the same box. Some make a lot of money.”
That Carter is unpopular among the members of the Presidents Club became evident when they tried to ignore him from the historic 2009 photo of all the living former presidents in the Oval Office. Carter managed to stay within the frame but his physical distance with the other four (Bush father and son, Clinton and Obama) was telling.