Watching the presidential transition (if one even dares to call it that) has been horrific. Trump’s refusal to accept the election results, welcome his successor to the White House, attend his inauguration or preside over a peaceful transfer of power has been among the worst abdications of presidential responsibility I have witnessed in my lifetime.
I vividly recall how, just days after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, President George W. Bush held a Cabinet meeting where he gave us all clear marching orders: “Our job is to make sure the next president and his team can do the job and succeed. No one at this table should want them to fail,” he said. That directive applied to all who worked for him, from his secretary of defense all the way down to his chief speechwriter. So, I called Obama’s speechwriter, Jon Favreau, and invited him to the White House. We had lunch in the Navy Mess. I introduced him to our team, walked him through our speechwriting process and later invited his entire staff for a West Wing tour, where they took their first look at the Oval Office. On my last day in the West Wing, I left him a note with a box of White House cigars for his team to smoke on the “speechwriters’ balcony” in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
I did all this not because I supported Obama — I would have many hard things to say about him in the years ahead — but out of respect for the office he held.