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Editorial

The Useful Club of American Presidents

We are all familiar with the unprecedented intensity, if not hatred, that characterizes the battle between the supporters of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. A battle that has divided the country, that has divided families, that led to the questioning of the election result, the tragic events of January 6, and the destruction of lives and careers.

A battle so intense between Republicans and Democrats that it threatens democracy itself in the United States, the greatest democracy in the world.
However, as I do when considering such cases of heated confrontation between two political rivals, I have a question: Are their personal relationships really that bad? Do they dislike each other as much as their attacks on each other show, or are they pretending their relationship is so bad because the circumstances of their competition dictate it?

According to several revealing reports in newspapers and books, Trump knows that Biden did not ‘steal’ the election, but continues to denounce it to exploit the political situation. However, nothing has been released to answer the question of the status of  their personal relationship.

This weekend, however, in a revealing article in The New York Times about the chaotic, final days of Trump’s presidency, an answer to this question is given: while he was absorbed in his frantic attempt to overturn the outcome of the election, he found the time to do something surprising and likely to upset some of his followers. The newspaper writes:

“That afternoon, Mr. Biden arrived in the Oval Office and found a letter waiting for him in a drawer from Mr. Trump. It was two large pages, with Mr. Trump’s distinctive handwriting visible to an aide watching Mr. Biden read it. The new president remarked that Mr. Trump had been more gracious in the letter than he had anticipated.”

Of course, this, the polite letter, does not make them friends. It’s an old presidential tradition. However, it is further evidence that confirms what has been written many times by historians of the presidency: that presidents have their own exclusive club. That they form a special relationship with each other.

There is mutual understanding, perhaps mutual compassion, even if they swear and don’t like each other. This is good for them, and it is positive and useful for the country as well.

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