A major part of being the President of the United States is the image you project, not just to your country, but to the world.
Civility counts as much as policy, and this is where Donald Trump's reputation has been torn to shreds.
He left Washington DC today refusing to meet the incoming leader, his wife refusing to meet the new First Lady, and refusing the Bidens a government jet to arrive in DC, that’s the stuff that stains your name and reputation.
Be as aggrieved as you want about your loss. I am sure Hillary Clinton couldn’t believe what happened to her, I am sure Barack Obama was stunned at the result, but they still showed up, they were still courteous, they still behaved in a dignified way.
They have all behaved in a dignified way over the years because that’s what you do, and that’s what's expected in respecting the office, not your own personal circumstances.
I watched a video of Trump talking to a reporter four years ago upon receiving the traditional letter on the desk of the Oval Office. He seemed genuinely moved by Obama's words and hopes for the next four years. In that moment, short of being a very good actor, he, at that time anyway, actually seemed to get it.
And yet look at how he's behaved this week. Great leaders are the whole package. Even if you bought into his ideas, policy is only part of the deal, the rest is who you are.
It's what makes Obama still current for millions. As an effectual President he didn't actually do much, post 2010 his numbers were gone, and the last four years he was lame duck.
But he represented his country internationally well. In fact, he was probably more popular globally than domestically.
Yes, Trump got 74 million votes and that can't be dismissed, and yes, he's onto to something, philosophically speaking, for many Americans.
But he's a thug, he is a classless buffoon, he's the spoilt brat who doesn’t have any manners, he is profoundly dishonest, and he leaves the job a miserable self-interested loser.
And if you could never understand why his wife was with him, we now have a clue. She's as bad as he is, she just pretended harder in public.
The whole thing is a shame. He was never going to be great. But he did have the seed of an idea, and there were bits especially economically that showed real potential, until Covid undid him.
But ultimately, it's four years wasted, four years you wouldn’t repeat, and four years you won't miss.
By the end, the truth was out. The emperor had no clothes, he was stripped of any actual ongoing success and achievement. We saw him for what he was, a shark from New York devoid of class, ludicrous of look, and an interloper in the leadership stakes deposited in Washington DC by some Americans who fell for the same spin he used to sell condos.
Joe Biden in many respects, whether you back him or not, will, at least, in terms of leadership and civility be a massive relief.