I like playing a mind game that enables me to look ahead to the short- or the medium-term future. I don’t have a name for it … but what the hey!
The game I am playing at the moment involves the moment when Donald Trump walks away from the presidency. It could happen Jan. 20, 2021 or (gulp!) on Jan. 20, 2025. Oh, how I want it to be the first date.
But still, Donald Trump has become — in addition to being the most unqualified, unfit and uninformed person ever elected president — a first-class, top-tier boor. His treatment of others has become almost legendary in its crassness.
So what might happen at the moment the new president takes over from Trump? The transition from one president to another is filled with niceties, photo opportunities, pro forma courtesies. Let’s assume for a moment that the new president will be Joseph R. Biden Jr., the 2020 Democratic nominee-in-waiting.
In a normal political environment, Joseph Biden and his wife, Jill, would go to the White House. The first couple, Donald and Melania Trump, would greet them. They would exchange some small talk, pose for pictures, then go inside for some more chatter, perhaps have a meal.
This campaign, though, will be far from “normal.” It will be as abnormal as it can get. Trump will sling epithets and baseless accusations at Biden. The former vice president will fire back with his own attacks. Trump won’t like the things Biden says about him and he’ll ratchet up the rhetoric.
How low it stoops is anyone’s guess.
Then there will be the inaugural ceremony. The new vice president and the president take their oaths of office, then the president — and I do hope it’s Biden — will begin his remarks. In a more genteel time, the new president would turn to the outgoing president and thank him for his service to the country. My favorite moment of that nature occurred in 1977 when President Carter turned to President Ford — whom he had defeated in a bruising campaign — and thanked “my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land” after Watergate.
It is difficult for me to believe we will witness any of that kind of dignity and decorum whenever Donald Trump’s time as president has expired. This individual has poisoned the atmosphere.