“When you have a president who resembles previous presidents in almost no way that I can think of, it’s hard for me to imagine him as an ex-president who is going to resemble other ex-presidents in any way I can think of,” says former Time editor in chief Nancy Gibbs, co-author of “The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity.”
So, what exactly can we expect from ex-President Trump?
A total lack of rhetorical restraint, for one thing. Remember how Barack Obama, emulating George W. Bush before him, resisted uttering Trump’s name for nearly a year after vacating the White House? And remember how big a deal it was — what a break with past practice — when he finally came out swinging in the run-up to the 2018 midterms? Trump won’t wait a year. He won’t even wait a day.
“Trump has spent his whole life and career putting himself in the spotlight,” says Mark Updegrove, president and CEO of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation and author of “Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House.” “So there’s no question that the gloves will remain off for him as it relates to his own successors. He will not observe the protocol among former presidents to be above partisan politics and self-interest, in the interest of the country.”