No one really pretended that George W. Bush "liked" the Clintons. The scene shown above is from the summer of 2004, and the supposed niceties of this event were probably strained. We know that Bush hated to be managed in these types of events. The impeachment of President Clinton was probably fresh in everyone's minds, and neither man was a big fan of Al Gore.
Trump will provide numerous exceptions going forward. He is actively trashing the spirit and the letter of the office that he holds. I sometimes wonder how badly he and his "family" will leave the facility when they are hurled out of office. Will they smash things and leave shit stains on the carpets and soil whatever they cannot steal?
And I can say that because all of the norms, all of the customs, and every single tradition are just things that can be destroyed to further his ego:
It's been a White House tradition for decades: A first-term president hosts a ceremony in the East Room for the unveiling of the official portrait of his immediate predecessor that will hang in the halls of the White House for posterity.
Republican presidents have done it for Democratic presidents, and vice versa — even when one of them ascended to the White House by defeating or sharply criticizing the other.
"We may have our differences politically," President Barack Obama said when he hosted former President George W. Bush for his portrait unveiling in 2012, "but the presidency transcends those differences."
Yet this modern ritual won't be taking place between Obama and President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. And if Trump wins a second term in November, it could be 2025 before Obama returns to the White House to see his portrait displayed among every U.S. president from George Washington to Bush.
Trump is unconcerned about shunning yet another presidential custom, and he has attacked Obama to an extent no other president has done to a predecessor. Most recently he's made unfounded accusations that Obama committed an unspecified crime.
Obama, for his part, has no interest in participating in the post-presidency rite of passage so long as Trump is in office, the people familiar with the matter said.How would you like to be the White House employee who has to tally up the damages when the Trumps are flushed out of the place? How would you like to go around after his vicious, howling people are finally removed? I fully expect half of them to show up the next day thinking that the Biden people will want to tap into their expertise and seek out their advice. How many armed men will it take to extricate these goons? You gotta break some eggs if you want to have a Fiasco Presidency like Trump's.
Anyway, ceremonies and portrait unveilings are supposed to relieve us of our concerns and show us examples of how normal things should be. It should reassure the American people to see these figures pretending to smile and get along even if there are underlying hatreds and grudges. It really was extraordinary to see things go from the Elder Bush to Clinton and then to George W. Bush, all in the span of an eight year presidency that was marked by witch hunts that flew in the face of the reality of the peace and prosperity that Clinton delivered. Were it not for the debacle of the second Bush presidency, we might have been comforted by that example.
Instead, we get to wonder what Trump's demise will look like. Hey, they might even cover it in the papers.