Rick Wilson — GOP consultant and a thorn in President Donald Trump’s side — took to the pages of the Washington Post to laud late President George H.W. Bush, not for his life of public service, but for humiliating Trump with one of his final requests.
According to Wilson, Bush specifically asked that Trump and his wife attend a Washington memorial for him following his death along with the other surviving presidents putting him at risk of looking ungracious should he decline.
As Wilson bluntly put it, “By insisting on his successor’s inclusion in the proceedings, Bush forced the current White House occupant to briefly abandon his unfrozen cave-man act, denying him the chance to further debase the office of president by siphoning the dignity out of 41’s final hours in D.C. — something 45 likely would have relished, given the opportunity.”
Wilson, author of “Everything Trump Touches Dies,” noted that Bush’s late wife, Barbara Bush, had requested that Trump stay away from her memorial. Trump most likely would have appreciated being excluded again so he could stay home and tweet, Wilson noted.
“Bush personified noblesse oblige; Trump is an avatar of the lowest common denominator,” he explained. “And Trump might have half-expected, if not outright welcomed, such a rejection, as it would have given him an opening to abrasively tweet about the Bush legacy, employing Trump’s patented Twitter formula: insulting nickname, distracting punctuation, malapropism, logical fallacy, self-own, hit send.”
“But in his final wishes, the late former president put the dignity of the office and, by extension, the nation’s dignity, above all, knowing that the passing of a president is a rare occasion and, even in passing, any chance to demonstrate honor and decorum would provide a welcome contrast to this divided political moment,” he observed.
He added, “Bush proved right. Lacking a snub from which to pivot, Trump did the only thing he could do as a member of the now-five-member living president’s club: He issued an appropriate official statement on Bush’s passing, largely steered clear of the week’s Bush remembrances and showed up for the funeral at which he had no speaking role.
After observing Trump’s brooding behavior at Wednesday’s memorial, Wilson pronounced sentence.
“Trump saw himself eclipsed by the memory of a superior man and his anti-statesmanship outshined by the disdained values of a presently defunct GOP, whose passing we collectively view with increasing regret,” Wilson lectured. “A president who nurtures only his ego saw people from both parties turn out to honor a president who understood the line between partisanship and pragmatism.”
“Trump, a man who exists in a purely transactional bubble, had to sit and listen to stories of friendships that spanned decades, a loving marriage that began before Trump was born, Bush’s commitment to family and his total comfort with the person he was,” he wrote before praising the late president for possibly his greatest accomplishment.
“George H.W. Bush’s lifetime of service was capped by one last selfless act, a final gift to the country he served so well. He knew exactly what he was doing by opting not to exclude Trump from his funeral; he controlled the uncontrollable,” he concluded.
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