As President Trump faces calls for impeachment, only one living president knows what it feels like. But former President Bill Clinton doesn't see himself in the current commander-in-chief. Asked about Trump on CBS Sunday Morning, Clinton didn't hold back. But the most interesting tidbit Clinton shared about Trump was not with regards to impeachment — but electability. Bill Clinton said he "couldn't be elected" today because of how low the political discourse has reached.
"I couldn't be elected anything now 'cause I just don't like embarrassing people,” Clinton told CBS's Mo Rocca. “My mother would have whipped me for five days in a row when I was a little boy if I spent all my time badmouthing people like this."
And, no, Clinton is not a fan of the president's tweets. "I think most people do not like these tweets. They just wish it wouldn't go that way," Clinton said.
That was not the only comment on Trump's presidency that Clinton made. He also implicitly criticized Trump in his answer about what his own impeachment was like, noting that there wasn't anything substantial there. Clinton said:
Well, I knew it wouldn't succeed. It wasn't a pleasant experience. But it was a fight that I was glad to undertake after the elections, when the people had solidly told, by two-thirds or more, the Republicans to stop it. They knew there was nothing impeachable. And so, we fought it to the end. And I'm glad.
Whether or not there's something there with Trump, Clinton didn't directly say. But the former president did say he thought the press was treating Trump fairly.
"I think they have tried by and large to cover this investigation based on the facts," Mr. Clinton told Rocca. "I think if the roles were reversed — now, this is me just talking, but it's based on my experience! — I think if it were a Democratic president, and these facts were present, most people I know in Washington believe impeachment hearings would have begun already."
As for whether Clinton could be elected or not, the former president might be right. Clinton was elected to the presidency twice. The first time, in 1992, he ran on the premise "It's the economy, stupid." But the election of Trump in 2016 would seem to contradict that, with Hillary Clinton losing the Electoral College despite talking more about jobs and the economy than any other issue — and far more than President Trump did.
But even if Clinton were willing to go up against Trump with his badmouthing, there's no guarantee it would work. Others who challenged Trump in the primary sometimes tried to sink to his level. Marco Rubio's move to question the size of Trump's hands backfired.
Clinton finds it shocking the insults work. "It's unbelievable that he became president. But he figured some things out," Clinton said.
Instead of running for office, Clinton is publicizing a novel he wrote with James Patterson called The President Is Missing. Although the book is a political mystery, Clinton told Rocca that it has something deeper to say about the American political system.
"I want people to see the presidency as a job, and a hard one, and it matters who gets it," Clinton told Rocca. "It matters how they do it. Which I hope was the subtext of this. That is, I hope it's really exciting to people, but I hope when they put it down, they think, 'You know, we got a good kind of government here; we don't want to mess it up."