Make no mistake that I will go to my grave not ever knowing or understanding how a leading politician can speak with such promising rhetoric about political transition only to toss every single word he said four years earlier into the crapper.
Former President Barack H. Obama spoke to the nation the day after Donald J. Trump got elected president in 2016. He spoke glowingly of the president-elect’s commitment to a smooth transition from one administration to the next one. Obama spoke of the message he gleaned from Trump’s remarks the previous evening, about how Trump intends to be president for “all Americans.”
Then it all caved in.
Trump lost his bid for re-election and chose to ignore all the things he had said as he prepared to take office four years earlier. At one level, I wasn’t surprised, given that I learned early in Trump’s political career not to believe a single thing that came out of his mouth.
Then again, the eternal optimist that lurks inside me had hoped that he meant what he said in 2016 as he prepared to take office. Silly me. Barack Obama got fooled, too. As did Hillary Clinton.
All that noble talk about smooth transition was plowed asunder when Trump lost the 2020 election. He has attacked our democratic process in word and — as we witnessed on 1/6 — in deed. That begs a serious question: How do serious-minded American patriots square the words of a man who pledged unity and peaceful transition square that with what he did four years later?
I admit freely to being a bit slow on the uptake on some matters. This must be one of them. Therefore, I’ll just consign my pending visit to the hereafter with an acknowledgment that I do not — I cannot — grasp how this individual lives with himself.