Columnist

Could this be the start of a new era? 

President Trump has been notably subdued over the past eight hours. He has refrained from the harsh, personal invective that so characterized the preceding months of his presidency. He did nothing to disrupt relations with allies, failed to insult the media and conducted himself with a dignity befitting the office. He neglected to cause any major international incidents, did not spout bogus allegations of voter fraud, and managed an uncharacteristic, respectful reticence in the aftermath of a former president’s death.

“I don’t know what more you could ask for in terms of dignity, self-control and a silence more eloquent than words,” one commentator observed. “This could be the dawn of a new era for President Trump when he grows into the dignity of the office and rises to the demands of his position. It is certainly not beyond his capacity to do so, and I’m excited to see more behavior like this.”

Other commentators agreed: “During this time period, the president has shown a self-possession we’ve rarely seen from him, and I am hopeful that if he can demonstrate this kind of maturity, he is finally proving to be equipped for the Oval Office.”

During the stated time, several bats flew by the window and Trump did not bite their heads off; celebrities criticized him and he declined to respond; reporters asked questions and Trump did not insult them; and three separate Twitter controversies began and ended without any comment from him whatsoever.

Then he woke up.

Still, since then, for the last six minutes, the president has been remarkably restrained. His behavior over these stellar 360 seconds is leading some to think he is turning over a new leaf in his presidency, one not marked by the vitriol and chaos of the preceding every minute of every day for the past two years. He refrained from personal insults, did not refer to the press as the enemy of the people and tweeted nothing at all. This commendable restraint was a striking departure.

No, I’m sorry.

Um. Ahem.

For the last eight seconds, President Trump has been notably subdued. Could this, observers wonder, be the start of a new era?

For the last —

For the —

Never mind.

Related:

Read more from Alexandra Petri: 

What long-ago ‘favor’ made Trump keep Michael Cohen around? Here are my guesses.

You are in Melania Trump’s nightmare forest. Keep to the path.

This is exactly what I meant by ‘Make America Great Again’