Do not be fooled by appearances. President Trump and former President Barrack Obama have not spoken since their handshake at the inauguration last January 20th. The lines of communication have gone dark.
During the transition of power, it was reported that the two men spoke by phone frequently. But Trump and Obama are vastly different men both in personality and style. They initially vowed to have a cordial relationship, but that seems to be a dead issue now.
Spearheading this icy cold silence now can be attributed to Trump’s insistence to repeal his predecessor’s signature healthcare legislation while overhauling his regulatory agenda. He also ordered a travel ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries.
Both issues Obama vigorously opposed. Add to that a report earlier this month that Trump insisted Obama had been tapping his phones last year. That allegation was declared false by FBI Director James Comey on Monday. Obama reportedly told people close to him that “It’s ridiculous.”
But is it? On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told the media that U.S. intelligence agencies incidentally collected information on Trump’s transition team and disseminated it widely. That led to a jubilant Trump telling reporters that he felt “somewhat” vindicated.
A story that began March 4th is now getting under Obama’s super cool shell. So from January 20th to March 4th, there really was no formal communication?
Unofficial sources told The Hill they did try to get in touch early in Trump’s presidency. It is believed Trump attempted to call Obama who was traveling at the time, according to The Wall Street Journal. That in turn led to Obama trying to call Trump via an assistant.
Aides within the White House tried to downplay the alleged incident. They say Trump simply tried to call to thank his predecessor for the kind note he left him in the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. It consisted of the president requesting an unnamed aide to relay the message.
Like school children, these two presidents do not wish to be portrayed as the “aggressor.” The message was eventually passed along. There was no communication since.
Attempting to explain this complicated relationship, Jen Psaki, a longtime Obama aide who served as his communications director in his final months in office, said Wednesday in an interview that the “understanding” of the Trump-Obama relationship was always “over-cranked.”
The most likely meaning of “over-cranked” is that there is no love lost between the two men. Any idea that they are working together on anything is highly doubtful. It is reminiscent of the ride to the inauguration in 1933 with President-elect Franklin Roosevelt and outgoing President Herbert Hoover.
After a heated campaign that became nasty, the two men did not utter a word to each other in the open car. It appears the same animosity exists between Trump and Obama.
Nevertheless, Paski, a loyal Obama employee, claims Obama “conducted a smooth transition, and that’s what his focus was on. But that doesn’t mean they were going to become golf buddies.” It doesn’t appear Trump will be one of those buddies inviting Obama to any of his golf resorts.
Obama recently signed a lucrative book deal with Penguin Random House. It is assumed the record deal was agreed upon in part due to huge reader interest in the relationship between the two men. The love-fest between former President George H.W. Bush and then-incoming President Bill Clinton blossomed after both had left the office.
There is no indication that will ever be the case between Trump and Obama who couldn’t be more different. Maybe a card at Christmas?