“You won’t see me out there opining … or criticizing my successor,” George W. Bush said early 2010, just over a year after leaving the White House.

True to his word, Bush completely held his tongue for the first six years of President Obama’s administration, until more than two years after his second inauguration. In so doing, he followed in the footsteps of President Bill Clinton, who had shown him the same courtesy.

Both former presidents had appropriately left it to other members of their respective parties, those still officially in public life, to oppose their successors. They respectfully maintained a supportive silence, respecting the peaceful transfer of power and avoiding post-presidency sniping.

It was a nice tradition while we had it.

Speaking to reporters in Lima, Peru, Obama hinted that he won’t quietly step aside as his predecessors did. “As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I’ll examine it when it comes,” Obama told reporters.

This is disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, for even with it’s overseas location, Obama’s statement was a breach of tradition. American leaders traditionally refrain from denouncing the opposition while visiting foreign countries, which is the origin of the phrase, “politics ends at the water’s edge.” Obama, however, has repeatedly discarded that norm as well.

We truly hope Obama reconsiders. The nation does not benefit from its former president sniping at his successor. He should leave Trump to govern, and leave his party comrades and others to level the appropriate criticisms. Obama presumably knows that there will be no shortage of Democrats straining to step into the breach. After a year in which politicians have seemingly thrown aside all the old norms of politics, Obama should not break down yet another tradition in which Americans have taken solace in this age of sharp political division.

We don’t just say that because we are critics of Obama. From a Democratic Party perspective, Obama is the last person — literally the last — who should criticize Trump, at least for the next few years. He was responsible for the party’s trainwreck on Nov. 8. Election Day was a wholesale repudiation of his legacy. It is now time for him to be quiet. Having led his party to the slaughter in three out of the last four elections, Obama has no business stealing thunder from his party’s new and upcoming leaders.

But also think of this from the whole country’s perspective. The venerable tradition of ex-presidents holding their tongues has a patriotic purpose. It is an important part of the peaceful transfer of power that so many people have been talking about this month.

Press fumes as Trump breaks tradition

Also from the Washington Examiner

The press has bristled at the idea that the comings and goings in Trump Tower are being broadcast.

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Voters still like Obama, as exit polls showed. But his time is over. Voters were so eager for a change from his administration that they elected someone he had described as both unfit to hold office and a unique threat to our democracy. Not only that, but they re-elected a House and Senate that are prepared to undo Obama’s two major legislative accomplishments. He should take a few years to ponder that before he starts inserting himself into controversy once again.

There can only be one president at a time. Obama needs to understand that the country didn’t just elect him Monday morning quarterback.

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Critics are already sounding the alarm over Trump’s continued involvement in his business.

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