What matters: Trump has just shown us what it will be like after the election – whatever happens

Fact-checking Trump's claims on tear gas used against protesters

Our slightly modified Q-and-A is below.

What if he loses?

Why are we waiting months to inaugurate a president and how did Trump come about

CNN: We hold presidential elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. But the new president will not take office until January. What is the reason for this gap and is it still necessary?

KAB: The reason for this gap is to provide for the peaceful transfer of power and it is absolutely necessary. Maybe now more than ever.

I interviewed more than two dozen people who worked for Barack Obama and George W. Bush and both sides were told that they had a gradual transition which was important at a time when the country was experiencing the worst economic crisis after the great depression. Michelle Obama’s first chief of staff, Jackie Norris, told me that “he will never forget the intense camaraderie and loyalty that the first women and the first women’s staff members have for each other.” The same was true of the west wing.

The random way in which Trump’s campaign approached the transition is dangerous. To tell the truth, this is due to the fact that nobody on his electoral team had even taken the time to put together an acceptance speech. They didn’t think they would win.

Trump won the election partly saying he would “dry up the swamp” but there are basic federal government responsibilities he would have been better equipped to handle if he had some level of institutional knowledge (Joe Biden is exactly the opposite). And this takes time, which means that it takes a couple of months to make appointments and learn how things work.

In my book “Team of Five” I wrote that Obama’s aides were told to prepare drafts of thick “how-to” manuals on how their offices worked, including small details such as voicemail passwords.

This is from the book:

But Obama’s aides had no one to deliver their carefully curated briefing books to.

Career government employees waited at the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce and across the sprawling bureaucracy. They wanted guidance – they wanted to know who their new bosses were and how their job would change in a Trump presidency – but they got nothing. Indeed, some high-ranking employees waited and waited until after weeks of silence they thought they were no longer employed and filled their offices.

How Trump Could Come Out

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CNN: After seeing Trump’s first term, what are some things we should look for in a post-defeat transition?

KAB: I think that if Trump were to lose to Joe Biden (who is the epitome of a career politician after spending eight years as vice president and nearly 40 in the Senate) he will feel no obligation to do what George W. Bush does for him. he did for Barack Obama. I don’t think there will be a real handover or a peaceful transfer of power. I think it is unlikely in the defeat that Trump will behave radically differently than when he is in charge. I would be surprised if Trump showed up at Biden’s oath ceremony on Capitol Hill if he wins.

Peaceful transfers

CNN: The United States is known for its peaceful transfers of power. Is there a precedent for a losing president or his administration that is wreaking havoc as he walks out the door?

KAB: Historically there have certainly been some bitter defeats (see John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) but in modern times both sides have touted their skills for peacefully transferring power. During the 2008 campaign, Bush’s director of national intelligence, John Michael McConnell, had arranged for Obama and his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, a relationship with the thirteen most important national security issues at hand. Once, during the last two months of the 2008 campaign, Obama and McCain found themselves seated at the same table in the Roosevelt room, with Bush sitting between them, discussing Congress’s $ 700 billion authorization to save the market. naufragante.

Bush and Obama had true mutual respect. At the May 2012 presentation of the official portraits of George W. and Laura Bush in the White House, Obama said: “President Bush understood that saving our economy was not just a democratic or republican issue, it was an American priority. Be grateful for this “. Contrary to the fact that President Trump reportedly did not invite President Obama to present his portrait in the White House.

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It is unlikely that Trump would somehow refuse to go

CNN: Trump is not the type of person who simply goes silent. What kind of things could he do if he wanted to throw a gear into the government car?

KAB: He may refuse to leave, but I don’t see that happening. There has been a discussion left, especially Bill Maher, so it’s something in people’s minds. I have trouble imagining

Trump is sitting on the steps of the Capitol with hundreds of thousands of people in the audience cheering for his departure.

Former presidents have traditionally had a reluctant mutual admiration, even after being forced to leave office. After Ronald Reagan spoke to Jimmy Carter’s library by opening Carter he said, “Now I understand more clearly than I ever had before for you to win.”

Jimmy Carter apologized to George W. Bush for the dedication to the Bush library for being too harsh on him, especially for his explicit criticisms of the Iraq war. “Oh, silence,” replied Bush. Can you imagine it happening with Trump and whoever happens to him, whenever it happens?

What if he wins?

Encourage the empowered

CNN: No president has been accused, acquitted and re-elected. You can imagine that if he wins, Trump would feel more encouraged than anyone else in history. How could Trump treat the office in a second term as the final winner?

KAB: I think he will feel encouraged to take any action he wants. When I interviewed him for my book, it was shortly after the Mueller report came out and he felt like he was acquitted. He was frankly exuberant and eager to talk about how he thinks he has done more than any other president in history. So I can only imagine her reaction to the election after being accused. Much of what he spends his time is ruling only with his supporters in mind and if he were re-elected this would prove the immense power of his constituents. I think he would have criticized journalists and the so-called “deep state” even more than it does today. It would not be a good scene.

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No historical precedent for Trump

CNN: Is there another president who came to the unpopular White House and then won the unpopular reelection? Is there another two-term president as divisive as Trump?

KAB: I think George W. Bush was incredibly divisive, but not so far. His approval ratings have increased since he left office. And how Trump was elected without the popular vote. Bush followed his father’s example and remained largely on the sidelines. He has seen his approval ratings soar because the absence really makes the heart grow fonder. I can’t predict that Trump will stay on the sidelines.

Unpopular presidents and second terms

CNN: What can we learn from the second term of presidents who were not insanely popular at the time of their re-election and won against expectations (I’m thinking of Harry Truman here or Richard Nixon)?

KAB: If you look at Nixon and Watergate, winning by a narrow margin only made him more paranoid and irrational and led to his resignation. That example is not an auspicious one.

Trump and his GOP successor

CNN: We are deeply involved in conjecture here, but I wondered if Trump had won, how he would have treated Mike Pence, who was a loyal soldier during this first term. It’s hard to imagine anyone with Trump’s reality showing sensitivity by simply handing over the baton to someone like Pence, who undoubtedly lacks Trump’s talent for drama, as the next logical candidate for the GOP. What does history tell us?

KAB: Trump isn’t loyal to people just because they’re loyal to him. I think he will treat Mike Pence well if he is re-elected, because logically Pence would have helped him to convince the evangelical voters to be with him. But I don’t think loyalty would last long and Trump could support someone else if Pence were to run in 2024. It wouldn’t translate into long-term support if it didn’t benefit him in some way.


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