President Obama as a Trump adviser? In some cruel way, it’s almost fitting this is happening.
We expected our president to do the impossible when he entered office in 2009, fixing a country financially ravaged by the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
And now, on his way out of the White House, Obama has to dignify the man replacing him — Donald Trump — a man who perpetuated a national racist lie for his own benefit.
Obama has to dignify a man who questioned his academic credentials. Obama has to dignify a man whose campaign for the presidency ran counter to everything this country says it values from its citizenry.
Yep, President Obama — step right on up.
You know this is just wrong on so many levels. It very clearly feels beneath our president to have to do so. It reeks of a long history in our nation of black people having to stand up in the face of racism, rise above it and not be destroyed, distracted or dismayed by it.
The president and the president-elect are the best of buddies, if you believe The Donald — the man who is going to “Make America Great Again” for some and a nightmare for many others.
“I’ve now gotten to know President Obama. I really like him,” Trump told NBC’s Today after Time magazine made him Person of the Year. “We have, I think I can say, at least for myself, I can’t speak for him, but we have a really good chemistry together. We talk.”
Trump added that he plans to call Obama for his “counsel,” and the two men have spoken a handful of times.
“He loves the country. He wants to do right by the country and for the country, and I will tell you, we obviously very much disagree on certain policies and certain things but, you know, I really like him as a president,” Trump said.
The audacity of these statements. The audacity of this unfortunate reality.
Obama reportedly views Trump as a pragmatic figure who has no hard ideological leanings, a factor which should be considered as the commander-in-chief attempts to preserve his legacy — which increasingly looks much like salvaging as much of his legacy as possible from a narcissistic madman and his inner circle of white supremacists.
There are some who, pretending these are normal circumstances, wish Trump success. But for those of us who truly value justice, equality and progress, this is not a wish we consider lightly.
A wish for a successful presidency from Donald Trump without acknowledging the ongoing damage he’s caused for so many feels hollow and flat out wrong.
And again, things have come full circle.
Make no mistake, President Obama rescued this country from economic calamity rivaled only by The Great Depression. And now he must end his term cordially and respectfully to a man who said he wasn’t qualified to be president because he was actually born in Kenya.
It was a not-so-subtly-veiled way of calling a black man a racial epithet without even getting to the letter N.
“Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?” Trump said to Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters on the The View in 2011. “I wish he would because I think it’s a terrible pall that’s hanging over him … There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”
When the hosts asked Trump why he didn’t ask Bush for his birth certificate, he responded, “I’m not saying I’m a fan of George Bush. You know that better than anybody. But George Bush was born in this country.”
In the months and years that followed, on the cable news and talk show circuit and in speeches, Trump continued to press the fraudulent and nonsensical
“Right now, I have some real doubts… His grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya and she was there and witnessed the birth. He doesn’t have a birth certificate or he hasn’t shown it,” Trump said on Today in April 2011. And even after Obama published the long form of his birth certificate later that month, Trump did not relent, questioning whether the birth certificate was real and also demanding that Obama release his college and passport records.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2012
There is nothing I would be happier to do than to donate the $5M to a charity of Obama’s choice, once he releases all of his records.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2012
It was not until September 16 of this year that Trump admitted Obama was born in the U.S., yet he did not apologize for smearing the name of the most powerful person in America and the leader of the free world.
He instead blamed Hillary Clinton for everything.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Trump said at the opening of his new hotel in Washington, D.C. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.
But the damage has already largely been done. Forty-one percent of Republicans believe Obama is foreign-born, according to a poll taken in August.
We expect President Obama to react to foolishness such as this — and a lowlife such as Trump — with a measured response, with grace, dignity and patience. This, despite all the racism Obama and his family have endured throughout his eight years as president — the Birtherism, the monkey and ape cartoons, white politicians disrespecting him to his face and interrupting him during a joint session of Congress, and everything else that was thrown his way.
But our president is unscathed. We applaud him but also shake our head at why this is even possible.
Now that Trump has won the election, suddenly he thinks the president is a good man and respects his advice. This is what black people must endure. And this is what black parents meant when they told us we had to be twice as good and work twice as hard to get half the credit.
And particularly if you’re the first one to occupy a previously all-white space, you can’t show you’re an angry black man or woman. You can’t be human.
Donald Trump will never fill Obama’s shoes and since Election Day has given every indication that he will run the country the way he ran his campaign: irresponsibly, recklessly and with Russia’s help.
So Trump wants Obama to be a part of his counsel? Mr. President, you are too good for that.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter @davidalove