Donald Trump made history by reaching the White House without any political or military experience while being its oldest (70), wealthiest (a billionaire) and most-divorced (twice) occupant. Perhaps fittingly, America’s forty-fifth president has unabashedly broken traditions and shattered norms involving the judiciary, free press, intelligence community, international alliances, etc, etc. He once used the White House’s bully pulpit to describe some Nazis as “fine people.” Conversely, perhaps no ex-president has publicly rebuked his successor with the forcefulness of Barack Obama, starting in September 2018 — breaking an informal rule that spanned more than 70 years. Pointing out Trump’s iconoclasm, Obama explained that the consequences of deference had turned “dire.”
To Obama’s chagrin, Trump recently underwent his most successful stretch as president: Brett Kavanaugh, 53, won confirmation to the Supreme Court despite being accused of sexual assault, prompting a raucous Senate hearing. The development positions Trump to leave an indelible mark on modern American history, reshaping the bench by shifting power to staunch conservatives, presumably for decades, on third-rail issues such as abortion, gun rights and affirmative action. Of course, Trump’s opportunity to seat a second Supreme Court justice occurred because Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland, was blocked by Republicans in 2016. Kavanaugh replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate conservative whose pivotal votes occasionally swung in favor of monumental Democratic causes.
Obama, age 57, vs. Trump, 72: Whose vision of America — and the world — will endure? Who will prevail in this clash of political titans? Or do such questions partly depend on the conclusions of the long-time elephant in the room: special counsel Robert Mueller?Read More