It must be true, that Donald Trump refuses to join the Presidents Club, the exclusive organization reserved only for commanders in chief and their predecessors.
Two of his immediate predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have been targeted by someone who wants to terrorize them by sending them pipe bombs in the mail. There’s also a former vice president, Joe Biden, who’s been targeted with two of those devices. Oh, yes, and how about Hillary Clinton, wife of the 42nd president and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign opponent?
The president hasn’t called them. He hasn’t offered them comfort. Nor has he told them how sorry he is about the acts that have been perpetrated against them — and against other Democratic political figures and CNN, the cable news outfit.
Hey, Trump doesn’t even have to do any of this for public consumption. He could just pick up a phone at the White House — preferably a “secure phone” — to call the men who preceded him as head of state. He could talk to them privately.
He won’t do that. He appears incapable of doing the right thing where they are involved.
Trump has taken the criticism leveled against intensely personally. It has come from the former presidents, the ex-vice president, his former 2016 campaign foe, two intelligence leaders, a campaign donor, a U.S. senator and a member of the U.S. House, a New York governor.
Then there’s CNN, the outlet he calls “fake news,” the embodiment in Trump’s view that the media are the “enemy of the people.” He can’t call CNN’s execs to offer a word of comfort to them, either.
The Presidents Club traditionally has been a chummy group. Former foes become good friends. They team up to work on humanitarian causes. The spend time recalling their time in the hot seat in front of crowds. They joke with each other.
What’s more, and this is critical, they make themselves available to the current president who might wonder: What would any of them do when faced with a particular problem?
Donald Trump is having none of that.
Two former presidents and a former vice president have been identified as victims of what appears to be a terrorist. A phone call from their successor would provide some level — maybe only a tiny level — of comfort during this highly stressful time.