- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In November, President Barack Obama reminded President-Elect Donald Trump that “there’s only one president at a time” and that he should be careful not to overstep his bounds before the formal transfer of power.

However, in Mr. Obama’s final address to the country, he made it clear he won’t retire after Jan. 20 — rebuking his own reprimand and years of studied silence of past presidents.

“As I prepare to take on the even more important role of citizen, know that I will be there with you every step of the way to ensure that this country forever strives to live up to the incredible promise of our founding — that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve every chance to live out our dreams,” Mr. Obama said in his final radio address on Dec. 31.

Mr. Obama plans to live in Washington, D.C., until his youngest daughter Sasha, finishes high school. And you can be sure he’ll keep an eye on the GOP-controlled Congress and White House, which won on promises to largely undo his legacy.

Unlike former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who largely vanished from the public spotlight after their presidencies, Mr. Obama has assured his base he plans on being a thorn in the side of Mr. Trump.

“I promise you that next year Michelle and I are going to be right there with you, and the clouds are going to start parting and the sun is going to come back out, and we’re going to be busy, involved in the amazing stuff that we’ve been doing all these years before,” Mr. Obama told supporters in a political call on Nov. 26.

Mr. Obama said he was “fired up and ready to go” to lead the resistance to Mr. Trump. On Wednesday, Mr. Obama plans to address Democrats in Congress to help them build a battle plan to defend his health care law.

Other fights looming are in regards to immigration and environmental regulations.

With his continued lobbying, Mr. Obama will break a longstanding rule of past presidents — that is to stay silent and out of the political fray.

Jimmy Carter was the last president to publicly disagree with his successor, Ronald Reagan, although the barbs exchanged were mild. In 1987, Mr. Carter said Mr. Reagan was more inclined to use military force than diplomacy. The White House lashed back, saying Mr. Carter’s comments were out of line.

Mr. Carter also called George W. Bush “the worst in history” when it came to international relations.

Mr. Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Mr. Clinton, and George W. Bush, all remained silent on the policies of their successors.

Yet, none of those men have had quite as toxic and adversarial relationship as Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump.

Before Mr. Trump decided to run for office, he famously questioned Mr. Obama’s birthright, demanding that the president release his birth certificate, which he later did.

Then, at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, Mr. Obama publicly chastised Mr. Trump, who was sitting in the audience, over the birther charge and included a parody picture of what a Trump White House would look like, including scantily clad women bathing by a fountain, the lawn converted into a golf course, and the home decorated like a casino.

“Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he certainly would bring some change to the White House,” Mr. Obama joked.

The New York Times reported that it was this public mocking that drove Mr. Trump to run for the White House.

“Five years later, [Mr. Trump] seems determined not to be humiliated again, and to stop those who laughed at him,” The Times wrote.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Obama repeated that Mr. Trump would never become president because it’s a “serious job.”

“I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president, and the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people. And I think they recognize that being president is a serious job. It’s not hosting a talk show or a reality show. It’s not promotion. It’s not marketing. It’s hard,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in February 2016.

Now, that Mr. Trump is president, Mr. Obama won’t go away, and has said as much. He does believe the job is hard, and has an ego so large, Mr. Obama sincerely believes he still will have some sway post presidency.

It’s too bad he can’t give Mr. Trump the sole, singular voice he deserves — and that Mr. Obama received — after winning the presidency.

There really is only one president at a time, but Mr. Obama has no intention of actually honoring the rule he so wants Mr. Trump to follow.

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