The Relationship Between President Trump And Former President Obama
This is one A. I'm Sasha and Simon's broadcasting from my home in Maryland. Let's say your commander in chief of the most powerful nation in the world and that nation is in crisis. Who are you going to call we'll if you're president trump? It's not likely that you'll be reaching out to one of your predecessors for help. The president has burnt. His bridges insulted the leaders who came before him ditched celebratory occasions that typically attend and failed to show the former presidents respect that includes Barack Obama who the president is currently attacking with a baseless Obama Gate charge trump has also placed Obama at the center of a new attack ad against Joe Biden the likely Democratic nominee we need Americans of goodwill to unite against a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption? Natural Gas Company accused of corruption appoints hunter Biden to their board of directors carelessness. Poor kids are just as bright injustice towns white kids self-dealing leaving six hours and the prosecutors not fired. You're not getting the money. Disinformation pop was a bad dude. Ignorance gay gay gay bath houses and just plain meanness. You're nervous man. Join Joe Trump is going to eat him alive as with many attack ads. This one would have a hard time passing truth. Test before trump all the ex-president's managed to get along across the partisan divide out of respect for the institution of the presidency. Not so much anymore. So what gives Kate Anderson? Brower is a New York Times bestseller and her new book team of five. The President's Club in the age of trump details president trump's relationship with the former presidents kate. Thanks for being here for having me and mainly is a correspondent for MSNBC and host of the into America podcast Germain. Welcome back to me now. President trump has focused his attention back on Obama last week. When asked about Obama's comments in an address to the graduating class of twenty twenty trump had this to say to reporters at the White House. Look you as an incompetent president. That's all I can say grossly incompetent. Thank you tremaine. What is it about what Obama said that makes trump WANNA lash out like that? I don't think Anything that President Obama said per se. I think WHO President Obama is. Let's not forget that Donald trump you know basically build the stilts of his political career on the disrespect of president. Obama you know it began with the excuse me the birther nonsense questioning not just president Obama's eligibility to be president but his his legitimacy and so I think he really cannot shake President Obama from his head and so many of his supporters especially those on the fringes the racist who never believed that President Obama should have been president in that. It says something it's in the signal that America was shifting in a direction that was unfavorable to them. That this black man This this half black half white man ascended to the to the White House. I think it's still just bothers A big section of America but also many who supported Donald Trump and donald trump himself. So when you spoke to Him Kate how did he frame his relationship with Obama? Oh I mean. He was very dismissive of all the former presidents living president. It's ironic that he only has respect for the dead ones. Like he talks about Andrew Jackson. He's even mentioned Nixon but in our interview I asked him you know he was sitting in the Oval Office at the the famous resolute desk and I asked if he has more empathy for the men who sat there before and that includes Barack Obama obviously and he said no not at all. They've given me this giant mess to deal with but I mean he was also very dismissive of George W Bush He clearly has no respect for them and I think he's. He's forced them into this very awkward position as former president. Now there's a White House tradition where the current president unveils the White House portrait of the President before him. Here's how the last one went well. Good morning everybody. It is wonderful to see all of you about that. That was former president. Barack Obama unveiling George W Bush's White House portrait in two thousand twelve kate last Tuesday. We got news that president trump may not be hosting an unveiling ceremony for Obama's White House portrait. How significant and unusual is this well? It's very unusual not surprising at all. I mean I asked President Trump. If he would go to President Obama's library opening which is another tradition. You know we always see the former president sitting on the platform Celebrating each other Republican Democrat. It does not matter and he said no absolutely not. And why would Obama even invite me? You know which I think says a lot about you know the stage how bad things have gotten. And I'm glad you played that clip because the relationship between George W Bush and Barack Obama is really interesting. I mean when the bushes came for their White House. A PORTRAIT UNVEILING MICHELLE. Obama took her swing team aside and said we want to make this a perfect day for the family. Fourteen members of the Bush family came. They had a great Meal and the Red Room of the White House they got to see the butlers and the housekeepers they had grown to love over eight years. I mean it's just a completely different relationship. Obama called Bush after bin Laden was killed. It was one of the first calls. He made Because he said protecting our country is not the work of one person or one period of time. But I mean there's this respect for the institution that's completely lacking today. We are discussing the President's Club in the age of trump with Kate Anderson brower author of team of five a book about just that and Tremaine Lee is with us as well. He's a correspondent for MSNBC. He's also the host of the into America. Podcast coming up. We'll talk more about what this all means for the state of politics in twenty twenty and we'll get to some of your questions and comments as well. I'm Sasha Anti you're listening to one eight from Wan you and NPR this message comes from NPR sponsor. Legalzoom legalzoom makes it easy for Americans to set up their estate plans without leaving their homes. Don't know the difference between a last whale or living trust. What about an advance? Health Care Directive. Legalzoom can help. They're not offer but you can get started quickly online and also get advice through their network of independent attorneys. Learn more about estate plans and how you can speak to an attorney for advice at legalzoom DOT com. Do you talk about the news with your friends. Your family or perfect strangers. Get the facts. You need to be up to speed on this busy news cycle on the one news. Roundup find the podcast in your feed every Friday. Let's all close our eyes. Take a deep breath. Let it out and listen to. Npr's all songs considered it's a music podcasts. But it's also a good friend and guide to find joy in troubled times here. All songs considered with new episodes every Tuesday and Friday. Wherever you listen to podcasts. This is one A. I'M SASHA AN SIMMONS WE'RE discussing president. Trump's relationship with the remaining living presidents with Kate Anderson brower author of team of five the president's Club in the age of trump and tra mainly course correspondent for MSNBC and host of the into America. Podcast Tremaine. What does this all say to you about the state of politics in two thousand twenty? You know we're we're at this place now and I think it's it's unclear whether we'll ever be able to go back. Whatever back means right to the good old days of politics when it was you know adversarial But there was decency and Decorum. I think this administration has intentionally sought to kind of undermine the previous in such a way That I think it says something really bad about where we are as American because again it trickles down to those voters and the people and even though for many. It's a horse race. It's about ego. There are real policy implications when you go down to the ground you know when I talked to voters all across the country. Black voters especially They see clearly how divergent and dangerous They feel this administration has been in trying to undermine every step of the previous administration. The president wrote President Obama's legacy but trump the trump though you funny that you say that because trump thinks that these former presidents are the ones that have been undermining him since they of course because he has to be aggrieved. He has to have an adversary. He has to have an enemy. He has to have someone to lash out against and for many people you know. He does represent something to a lot of people that make America great again and a lot of people have been questioning. Great Win. Give me a year. Give me a decade. Tell me exactly how we'RE GONNA restore America to greatness for those most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Who are now feeling the wrath the brunt of this incendiary language the disrespect but also attacking policies. That helped a lot of people the affordable care. Act You think about what Jeff sessions did on his way. Out of office kind of undermining. The consent decree process which held police departments across the country accountable. After the Trayvon Martin's and Michael Brown's and all the fergusons of the world right and so while he may see that because he is aggrieved and he has this beef he has this few burning coal inside of him Which represents President Obama for many people? This is dangerous and you know the question remains. Will we ever be able to come back out this as political form or actual policy? Now let's talk a little bit about trump's relationship with the other remaining presidents Besides Jimmy Carter Kate. President trump hasn't reached out to any of the other presidents for advice. How unusual is that? Oh it's Unprecedented in modern history. Always you know going back to JFK during the Cuban missile crisis calling every single one of his living predecessors saying we need help. I need advice During this would be a great time and for trump to to to reach out to them but And he's been asked about it and he said he wanted and he you know what will he learn from them? I think he's threatened by them When I left the Oval Office after our interview he said in a voice laden with dark chasm he said they hide President Bush for me. You know he I think he feels like he's been bullied by you. Know and and ostracized by the former presidents. And why would he? Why would he reach out to them? I mean Jimmy Carter. Is Somebody who he had. He's an affinity for he saw harder as an outsider and the way that he was because harder would come out and Criticize like I said Bush in the war in Iraq. I mean he broke some rules. We're not and president. Carter talk about. They talked about China. They talked about North Korea. Carter was still harboring hopes of being sent As an envoy I mean this is a couple of years ago to North Korea But it was typical Jimmy Carter because he was at a friend's house in plains Georgia in this tiny town and he was serving himself dinner at buffet. You know line and he gets this phone call. Take the call. They spoke for twenty or thirty minutes. He hangs up and goes right back to serving himself. Dinner was very quiet about it according to someone in the room so And when I interviewed Carter he was actually. This is two years ago so he was very careful not to criticize. But since then you know he's questioned trump's legitimacy Rosalynn Carter. His wife was much more upfront and said this is a a train wreck. You know an absolute train wreck before we pause. Kate. I'm wondering you know thinking back. President trump used to Bill Clinton's friend. How did things become so sour? Then between trump and the Clintons you know I mean Yeah Bill. Clinton trump had his golf course renovated so that Clinton would join it in in New York You know it became so our when trump ran for president and I asked him if he would be friends with any other former president if he could see himself being friendly in the same way. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams became friends and he kind of said he looked at me and said. This is an intriguing question. I think I think anything's possible. And you know Bill Clinton is the one who he was of all these four living former president sat is the one he had any real relationship with Hillary Clinton sat in the Front Pew at their his weddings and Milania trump. And He loves to talk about that famous photo the Clinton his wedding But I mean honestly how. How could we ever see that happening? I do think that all of these presidents would help during this pandemic and I know that I know they would If trump were to pick up the phone downtown Dave tweets isn't it customary for the former president to stay quiet with criticism of the current president? Would you say that Kate absolutely? That's one of. That's probably the main rule of the president's club and it's worked for George W Bush. I mean lucky left. Let's not forget. He had really bad approval ratings. I think it was in the thirties when he left office. And now he's above fifty percent among Democrats. I mean peop- absence makes the heart grow fonder in every way and I think that when when you former presidents don't weigh in and when Bush just you know does his paintings and you know watch baseball and does all of those things. That are non-threatening His approval ratings. Go up so they're not. They do not way in ever. I think we see except for Carter and I think we see Obama weighing in because feels really pushed back into a corner. I don't think that we would see this with any other if it was anyone else. But trump is off but a minute here. Tremaine you know. Bush is the only other Republican in the president's Club You know Bush said he did not recognize his own Republican Party. Do you think that Bush is concerned with trump as a republican is reflective of the party? Or is he an anomaly? I think in some ways he may be an anomaly. Because we just haven't heard other folks stepping up But the departure from the past and has been so great whether it's Bush or an Obama who sees the direction we're going in as so dire that something needs to happen. Speaking of w Bush we think about How President Obama ran against the war in Iraq? Right a lot of people see George W Bush as a war criminal. Quite frankly but still after you know. Obama was out of office. They forged his friendship and now he's the cute pictures of w Bush and the Bush family with Michelle Obama and everything is so cozy And so for him to step up now and kind of hint at his disapproval. It you imagine that it may be a spark for others to follow others to step up and say something but now we're three and a half almost four years in and still there's no way no human cry so interesting we're talking with Tremaine Leah correspondent for MSNBC and host of the into America. Podcast also with us. Is Kate Anderson Brower? She's the author of team of five the president's Club in the age of trump more from our guests and from you just this message comes from. Npr sponsor facebook in response to covid. Nineteen people around. The world are coming together to help one. Another facebook's community health feature is making that easier from delivering groceries two neighbors to donating to a local fundraiser or food pantry. Community help provides a place where people can offer or request support in their area. Learn more at facebook dot com slash Kovic support. There's no getting around it. The coronavirus pandemic has upended everything and daily decisions. Made by the White House and Congress will radically impact the human and economic toll to keep up with the latest join us on the NPR politics. Podcast will cut through the noise and let you know what decisions being made and how they affect you. Now we've been talking about the relationship. That trump has built over the years with those who've come before with Kate Anderson brower author of team of five the president's Club in the age of trump and Tremaine Lee a correspondent for MSNBC. Let's acknowledge that fifty percent of the country did vote for trump? Half of the electorate wanted a fighter. The fact that he's willing to go after the past presidents is part of his appeal. Kate what do you think I think that's true I think there is a sense that That what was happening wasn't working before there was a sense of the you know the whole drain. The swamp I slogan that he ran on is something that really appeals to people And he and he himself when I when I interviewed him. I said you know you ever have trouble sleeping at night facing all of these issues that have weighed down every president and prematurely aged every president in modern history and he said no not at all. I have no trouble sleeping. I've got you know. He always wants to project that he is in complete control of the situation. Right he respects. The office of the president is not losing sleep. Yeah Which is hard to believe since he's tweeting at all hours of the night right I think that he I think that he loves the power of it right. He's got forty five monogrammed on his shirt's He has more flags in the Oval Office than any modern president. And it's all about the ceremony Of the president the and the of the presidency. So you can't get more powerful than than what he's reached the level. He's raised so that part. I think he really Rebels and I don't think he respects the kind of institution of the presidency and the way things have been done before. I think he thinks that he has to Kinda change. All up and part of that is the president's club and he does not want to be part of it. I asked him how. How do you think you'll fit into it? And He Kinda smirks and said how do you think you know not very well And he wants to give the impression that it doesn't bother him that none of them wanted him right and he but obviously it does because the lashing out has to be assigned. If you're doing on embiid that there's something about it that he does want to. He did at one point. One A fit right. That's why he invited the Clintons to his wedding but because they haven't embraced him Because of his antics you know I think he's felt that he has to dig it and go even and and sort of be even more outside than he ever was drained. What do you think that president trump is losing by? Not maintaining a relationship with former presidents. I think we might be Too Far past his point. But how will history him? They're always these amazing pictures. They come up every few years when the president's Club when they get together and you see a line of them and the transition of power the peaceful transition of power from one to the next sometimes they're forging friendships sometimes. It's begrudgingly but they. They realized that it's the the office is bigger than them. It's bigger than EGO is bigger than the power they once had I think he may be losing an opportunity For history to shine down just a little bit because these have been dark times. These have been very divided times so I think he's. He's missing a moment of grace. If those two words can be associated the trump administration and grace. But he's missing chance to be part of their club That so many people have so much respect for if he did have interest humor me. Do you think he could meant any of these relationships. I mean if you WANNA take out. Gosh I mean questioning Obama Obama citizenship then Clinton as we talked about earlier we do forget. The incredible scene of these women brought to that debate in two thousand. Sixteen I can't imagine the Clintons You know I think that all of these former presidents would help during this crisis and do what they can. I don't think there could be an actual friendship at this point forged with Donald trump unless he went and did a big mayor culpa and you know which I think we can't see really happening either And I mean outside of politics. The the nature of the relationships within this group is generally tight as well right. He can't even fit into that. No I don't think so at all. I mean I've been wondering I asked him where he would have his presidential library and it was funny because he he again kind of smart and he was like you know. I haven't given it much thought which I think speaks to. If that is the case then that he's not looking at his place in his three and he's too consumed with the day to day chaos. That is kind of worrisome. Because every president gives it some thought you know where how they will be seen in hundreds of years and where their library will what it will be like I think that's him now. He could have just been lying about that. I don't know but he said he might have is in New York or Florida. And then he knows real estate better than anybody so. I mean I I think Florida would be a likely place for him. I can't imagine Newark being a good spot for a library but it is hard to imagine you know. What would his library look like? What will his memoir be like when he leaves office? Because you know he talks about the deal he's GonNa get a big deal when he leaves office and he'll say things in his memoir that no former president would ever say right. He'll be very no-holds-barred. I would think for sure So it'll be fascinating to see when that happened. Kate Anderson Brower is New York Times bestselling author. Her new book is team of five. The President's Club in the age of trump and tra mainly as a correspondent for MSNBC and host of the into America. Podcast thank you both for joining us before we go. We continue a tradition that we started weeks ago. Collecting your stories about acts of kindness and then sharing them today. Story comes from Barbara. After particularly difficult month An illness my own plus losing work. My dog needed emergency surgery at the vet and I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for it but I also knew I couldn't deny I went to check out after the surgery and I was told that the bill had been paid. I burst into tears. The people sitting on the benches waiting to be seen by the veterinarian also started crying I demanded to know who it was and while she wishes to remain anonymous it was someone of my same school circumstance but her act of kindness because she just wanted to help me something. That was an active grace and profound memory for me. Wow such a lovely story. Thank you so much for sharing it with US Barbara. If you have an act of kindness to share we would love to hear from you. Our number's eight five. Five two three six one two one two. I promise we read listen to each and every one again. That number is eight five five two three six one two one two. This conversation was produced by Emmanuel Johnson and edited by Matthew Simonsen to learn more about them and the rest of the team. Visit the one eight dot org. This program comes to you from W. A. M. U. Part of American University in Washington distributed by NPR. Until we meet again. I'm Sasha an Simon's thank you so much for listening this is one A.