“Nearly all presidents, especially those defeated for re-election, eventually enjoy some revisionist second looks,” said Steven Hayward of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “It will likely happen for Trump, too, as the intense passions surrounding him recede.”
Historian Harold Holzer, director of Roosevelt House at Hunter College, traces the post-presidential rebound to John Quincy Adams. In 1829, Adams lost his bid for a second term in the White House, but bounced back to serve 18 years in Congress.
“It depends largely on what Trump makes of his post-presidency,” Holzer said. “Even Herbert Hoover made a PR comeback of sorts by working in later years on world hunger. If Trump devotes himself to good works, who knows?”