Now that we have finally concluded the election with the voting by the Electoral College we can turn our eyes to the transition and the Inauguration. Both are barometers of how people will behave and I can make some predictions.
President Obama has publicly tried to say the right things about the transition of power to Donald Trump. He has met with him and smiled for the cameras. But underneath this façade is a growing anger and resentment from both the President and the people working in his administration.
You see the President now making snide comments about how Trump won the election. It was only with the help of Russian hackers. Never a mention of the fact that John Podesta was dumb enough to click on a phishing link that gave access to his email account. He was the common thread in all the leaked emails.
Then we have Michele Obama giving an interview with Oprah Winfrey where she states “We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like,”… “Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes.” This was a direct shot across the bow at Donald Trump. It is a smug attitude that somehow the Obamas are better people and anyone else will not be able to measure up.
Then you have White House spokesman Josh Ernest with several quotes that take shots at the incoming President and this one is fairly indicative of his attitude:
“The Trump campaign, for some time now, has had a ‘dustbin of history’-like quality to it, from the vacuous sloganeering, to the outright lies; even the fake hair,” Earnest said, adding the pertinent question is whether Republicans are “going to be dragged into the dustbin of history” with the Trump campaign.
I think everyone remembers when the White House transitioned from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush and all the keyboards had the W removed from them. Equipment was piled up in corners and much of it had to be replaced as it was damaged. Contrast that with how the Bush administration transitioned to Obama and you can see the stark difference in attitudes. They respected the office of the President and ensured the transition went as smoothly as possible.
The most important part of the transition is much more subtle. Previous Presidents have left office and quietly left Washington and resisted commenting on their successor. Think about this. How many times can you cite that George W. Bush criticized President Obama or his policies? Even when President Obama and officials in his administration were blaming Bush for all the countries problems he remained silent. Bush realized he had his turn and now it was Obama’s turn and it would be unseemly to interject himself into the policy debate.
President Obama has opted to remain in Washington to allow his youngest daughter to finish high school at Sidwell Friends. There is nothing wrong with doing this for his daughter (yet liberals criticize Melania Trump for staying in New York until the school year has ended for their son Baron) and in many ways should be applauded. But the question is will he be able to refrain from interjecting himself into the political debate once the Trump administration takes the reins of power? Undoubtedly they will begin to undo policies and acts of the Obama administration, just as Obama did to George Bush, and he will more than likely chafe watching it occur. But if he lends his voice to the criticism of the new administration he will be breaking a protocol that has existed for a long time.