Former President Bill Clinton and the president

Is a retired president in the U.S. is often called “president” for ever? Is the former Secretary of State, who is Bill Clinton’s wife, called as such without the modifying word “former”?

"Former President Bill Clinton delivered a personal and reflective speech today, talking to an intimate crowd in a neighborhood park about loved ones he’s lost, and speaking openly about his affection for Muhammad Ali, the boxing champion who died Friday night.
“The president took on a somber tone, deviating from his political stump to talk about his friend.”
Bill Clinton Opens Up About Muhammad Ali on the Campaign Trail - ABC News (via @ABC)

In Japanese, Prime Minister Abe will not be called as such, if he loses the post.

This depends on the context. Hilary Clinton is officially the “Former Secretary of State”, and when you introduce her, in beginning of an article for example, you’d refer to her with her full title as part of the introduction.

Now, when you’re talking to, or taking about her, you use the title “Secretary” as a replacement for “Mrs.” to add her status a distinction. Same goes for her husband, he’s the former president, but calling him “Mr.” Clinton, would sound odd, and constantly saying “former president” would be too long and sound labored over the long run. So you can address him as “President Clinton” or “president” depending on the context.

Next year, things might get a little confusing as to how you have to refer to them, but if need be, I’m sure we’ll come up with the right solutions for that.

“Constantly saying “former president” would be too long …”
I suppose so. Thank your for your convincing description.

Does “the late president” mean the last one of the ex-presidents? Or, it could refer to anyone of them?

“late” means deceased (dead) so you shouldn’t use it for living people.


Donald Trump is sometimes referred to as “former reality TV star”, I’ve noticed.

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I don’t want to see a reality-TV-star-turned president appear at the balcony of the White House. He is thin-skinned and unpredictable. I am worrying about the hands of the Doomsday Clock.

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Let Trump build the wall around the Trump Tower. Let him cocooned in the wall.