Trump’s pardons, rage tweeting is peak white male privilege. Obama could never.

OPINION: Imagine if President Obama's final moments in office looked anything like Donald Trump's last days in the White House

Trump Obama
President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama. (Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images and Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Can you imagine if President Barack Obama’s final days before his White House exit in 2016 looked anything close to President Donald Trump’s last days in office?

Imagine if President Obama had screamed from the rooftops that Trump’s then-opponent Hillary Clinton was robbed of a win in the 2016 election? (newsflash: she likely was due to Russian election interference and social media misinformation).

Or worse, that Americans should not honor the results, and instead use his legal team to help Clinton file massive lawsuits to overturn the election in federal court, with absolutely no legal evidence? 

Read More: Michael Cohen says prosecutors have ‘mounting evidence’ against Trump

US President Barack Obama and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Imagine, better yet, Obama holding a meeting in the hallowed Oval Office to conspire with lunatic lawyers and conspiracy theorists to declare marshall law, subvert the constitution and have the military call for a new election. 

Can you imagine if President Obama (who was attacked by Trump’s birtherism) failed to invite Trump to the White House for the customary changing of the guard chat in the Oval, or if First Lady Michelle Obama had not likewise welcomed Melania Trump for a meeting over tea?

No, we could not imagine any of this; not just for President Obama but for any president throughout American history. It’s not the American way. It is not what we do. It is not how American democracy works, and it is not how any president of the United States has treated his successor following a free and fair election.

That is until Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump walks out after speaking at the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit on December 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

For the past year, like many of you, I have been stunned, angered and outraged by what Trump has been able to get away with as president since his Senate impeachment trial. It reeks of white male privilege.

The way he has assaulted our democratic institutions. The way he treats world leaders. The way he and his mob-like relatives (Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump come to mind) and cronies have grifted the American taxpayers for his jaunts to Trump properties. Not to mention, the way he’s used the White House as a political prop and dealmaking government-funded version of the Trump hotel. 

Read More: Trump issues 29 pardons including Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Charles Kushner

Worse, the way Trump has attacked Black athletes who knelt in protest of racism, attacked Black and Brown women members of Congress, including the incoming Black female vice president, Kamala Harris. He called African nations “shit-hole countries” and called his former Black woman aide Omarosa Manigault a “dog.”

The coup de grace, however, for me was when he told white Americans that he was disbanding diversity training programs and “critical race theory” because to subject them to it was “offensive.” Going further, he described the teaching of school-aged children about the 1619 Project was child abuse.

President Trump Delivers Remarks On Federal Judicial Confirmation Milestones
U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during an event about judicial confirmations in the East Room of the White House on November 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

I could go on and on and on. But, what we can all agree on is that President Trump, who most recently vetoed the Defense Authorization Bill so he could preserve racist Confederate Generals’ names on our 21st-century military bases, is in fact, himself openly racist.  

And as if that’s enough — have you looked at President Trump’s Twitter feed lately? 

He continues to rant and attack the election (which has been decided since early November), calling it “fake.” He’s done this all while raising hundreds of millions of dollars for his new “PAC.” It’s the biggest, most open, and hostile grift in American history.

Don’t tell me that white male privilege isn’t real. Trump’s flagrant abuse of the presidential pardon power, not by giving clemency and justice to those who appeal to the U.S. pardon attorneys at the Department of Justice, but of his friends and associates like former General Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, all criminals who were charged with serious federal crimes by the FBI and DOJ, who were suspected of collusion with Russia in 2016. 

And he still has weeks left in office. 

U.S. President Donald Trump waves after addressing a rally in support of law and order on the South Lawn of the White House on October 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Just stop for a moment and consider if the nation’s first Black president, Barack H. Obama, had done any of this. Imagine what the response would have been from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans. The same Republicans who interrupted Obama’s State of the Union speech by shouting “you lie” or who promised to make him a “one-term” president. These very Republicans expressed faux outrage over Obama wearing a tan suit, for crying out loud.

It was all racist. It was all biased and nothing could be more clear to me and millions in the wake of Trump’s wreckage of our American institutions.  

We have less than a month until the nation’s next commander-in-chief, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in, and the outgoing President Donald J. Trump leaves office — I pray for good. Yet, unlike any of his 44 predecessors, Trump has attacked Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and refused to concede the election.

As we head into January 2021 with a new administration, my prayer is that our long national Trump nightmare will be over. But I fear he is just getting ramped up. I fear we are in for a rough four years ahead, particularly if the Republican senators in Georgia are re-elected. 

I just can’t help but feel like we’ve had a national gut-punch that has knocked us on our collective asses, and I hope for the sake of this great Republic, that we can all get back up and recover from four years of Donald Trump’s white male privilege on open display.

Sophia A. Nelson is the award-winning author of “Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama.”

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