Jeff Pearlman

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Ruining something beautiful

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Donald Trump has ruined many things.

He has ruined our reputation as a place where people can seek freedom.

He has ruined the separation of powers.

He has ruined dignity in the White House.

He has ruined compassion.

On.

And on.

And on.

As a guy who loved history and (in particular) presidential history, there’s one smallish thing he’s ruined that tears at me to no end. Namely, he has ruined the Presidents Club.

For those who don’t know, the Presidents Club is a thing. A real thing. It’s the gathering of the men who served in the Oval Office, usually alongside the current occupant. They chat and complain and compare notes. They tell stories, relive moments, eat and giggle and bitch. Do the members always get along? Certainly not. Bill Clinton hates Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan disliked Gerald Ford. Nixon and LBJ had strange mojo. But, even with differences, there’s an undeniable kinship. A mere 45 people have held the position. Hence, a mere 45 people can understand what it is to hold the position. So, yeah, the Presidents Club. It’s a very real thing.

Donald Trump, however, has sorta ruined it.

First, he’s never invited any of his predecessors back to the Oval Office. Second, all he does is bash them. He slams Obama, slams W, destroys Clinton. It’s a nonstop ego-fest of “I’m the best, they suck, and here’s why.” As a result, none of the four living ex-presidents want anything to do with Trump. They certainly have no desire to share stories, compare sagas, slap backs and wish well.

It’s ruined.

He’s ruined it.

  • mwl679

    44 people have been president.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life