COLUMN: How to be an Ex-President

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to Harry is a resident of Logan and an alumnus of Utah State University. He can be reached via email at His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees. 

<em>“And so, we leave with high hopes, in good spirit, and with deep humility, and with very much gratefulness in our hearts.”</em>

President Richard M. Nixon, August 9th, 1974.

There are two facts about the life of George Washington after he walked away from being the first President of the United States that I have always found intriguing.

The first is that he became America’s largest distiller of whiskey. Awesome.

Secondly, in 1798, he accepted an U.S. Senate-approved appointment by his successor, John Adams, to become Lieutenant General and Commander in Chief of all the Armies. This appointment was granted to him on the assumption that a war with France was imminent.

The much-anticipated war with France never came to pass, thanks to John Adams. Washington—whose most vaunted nickname, The American Cincinnatus, was given to him to honor his ability to walk away from absolute power—would die in 1799. He not only set precedents for how presidents would act in office, but also how they should conduct themselves afterward.

But, not really.

John Adams and his successor, Thomas Jefferson, made history with a correspondence in their later years that is a blueprint to America’s founding. John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson both served in the U.S. Congress after their tumultuous presidencies ended. But, mostly, ex-presidents gracefully crept into oblivion.

William Howard Taft did not. After being humiliated by his predecessor and mentor Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 Presidential campaign, Taft would become the Chief Justice of the United States in 1921 and serve for a decade with distinction.

Herbert Hoover became a diplomat who spoke often of the oncoming war in Europe. Hoover’s only controversial stance was believing the Nazis were a lesser evil to the Soviet communists, an interesting argument for another column.

And then there is Jimmy Carter. A man who immersed himself in charitable endeavors and foreign affairs. Like Hoover, Carter was not always right. But he was out there using his influence to better the world. He is the standard all ex-presidents will be measured by hereafter.

I bring this history lesson to you because we will have a new ex-president soon. President Donald J. Trump, aka Lord Tiny Hands, aka The Orange Lunatic will quit. I made this prediction after he was elected in November and I stated it in a <a href=”” target=”_blank”>previous column in March</a>.

If Trump does not quit because of his inevitable impeachment for obstruction of justice regarding his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, he will walk away from the office because being president is, like, you know, hard work and stuff.

Trump avoids hard work. He hates being in any space that is not filled with adoring fans, applauding him for his suspect achievements. He will quit because the world outside of the popinjays on Fox News that sing hosannas to him think Trump is an inept, avaricious, pathological and unqualified buffoon. And Trump just can’t handle the job. He melts in the heat…just like a snowflake.

As such, I want to offer some fast advice to the soon-to-be ex-president before he steps into the earned-ignominious title of “Worst President America Ever Had.”

First, we need some tragedy to allow us sympathy for our fallen president. Trump has been known to watch cable news and yell at the television screen. Instead, I would suggest he start talking with the portrait of Andrew Jackson he has hanging in the Oval Office. The two certifiably insane men to have been POTUS can discuss wanting to shoot enemies, hating the press and the best way to appease the voices in their heads. Kevin Spacey can play Jackson in the forthcoming Oliver Stone movie.

Next, fire everyone at 3 AM. You must have loyal flunkies being betrayed by their mad potentate in the middle of the night, just hours before he leaves office. Again, I am thinking about the movies that will be made in five years. The Trump brand is all about drama and image.

Third, and this is important, do not burn documents. Trump’s tweets have been saved by an array of sources. But somewhere, probably folded in the pages of Steve Bannon’s rabbit-eared copy of “Mein Kampf”, are actual documents that give us a play-by-play of how the procedures were implemented to run the Trump White House. Future generations will need to know how policies that affected the world went from being blather spoken on “Fox and Friends” and “Justice With Judge Jeanine” to becoming Trump’s doctrines on foreign affairs.

Fourth, do not divorce Melania for at least a year after quitting. I know the problem, Donald—she is 47 years old. That’s ancient for you. Hey! I turn 47 on June 19th and I feel downright jurassic. But you need Melania to be your dutiful, loyal, and hot-in-a-vneck sweater robot wife during the hard times of your fall. Next summer, when you’re on a weekend “retreat” with Vladimir Putin, you may meet a twentysomething blonde named Petra—who will bear an eerie resemblance to your daughter Ivanka—who will be very happy to sire you more children to carry on your empire of inferior products sold to the willingly gullible.

Lastly, give up all ideas about the Trump Library.

Have two words ever been been so snot-blowingly oxymoronic when put next to each other more than “Trump Library”?

The only just place for your presidential library would be the still-abandoned casinos which once bore your name that pox the Atlantic City landscape. No one wants to visit a presidential museum with slot machines in the lobby and a $12 lunch buffet—even if it does have prime rib.

Go quietly. Golf much. Make a cameo or two on Howard Stern’s show and tease us with innuendo of what Kellyanne Conway’s real role in the West Wing was. Go back into television. Try to comprehend the damage you and your basket of deplorables that answered your grotesque dog whistle did to this country.

Donnie, you delusional clown, you have not the faculties to match Taft’s commitment to the Constitution, Hoover’s desire to be a diplomat or Carter’s selfless call to Christian charity. Keep low for a bit. And then on April 8th, 2018, when you come out to the ring at Wrestlemania 34 and hit John Cena on the head with a chair, we will all take solace in knowing that, at that moment, you will have found peace and happiness being back where you belong.

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