Former US President Barack Obama has been praised for his oratory skills and political tact. In fact, those attributes are likely the reason he more or less got away with continuing his predecessor President Bush’s policies of foreign regime change and the post-9/11 erosion of civil liberties. Sitting US President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has long been known as a rude and crude personality. In fact, it seems to be a source of pride for The Donald. If Trump’s presidency has accomplished anything, it has shown that it took the election of someone a little more crass and with a little less couth to make the American public realize that the problems in America politics started long before Trump’s election.
Since Trump’s election, the media and his detractors (maybe one in the same depending on who you talk to) have lingered on the President’s every tweet and utterance. The Boston Globe declared this the “Era of Stupid” and with every new outrage, another mainstream outlet cries that the “sick joke of Trump’s presidency isn’t funny anymore.” His gaffes, unfortunate remarks and unpresidential meanderings have been widely reported across the globe.
The recent political turmoil in the US stemming from the murder of Black American George Floyd by Minneapolis police, has been no exception. There’s been no shortage of reporting recently on Trump’s words; from his authoritative remarks with respect to stopping the ensuing riots to his insensitive and confounding comment last week that “George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country” while discussing the US economy.
Barack Obama still remains widely popular. However, it important to remember that he, too, was not incapable of regrettable statements ranging from simple slip-ups to the same kind of authoritative rhetoric for which Trump has been derided as a dictator. Here are 12 memes inspired by the times Barack Obama sounded a lot like Donald Trump. We call it the ol’ switcheroo…
In 2019, Trump was widely mocked when he congratulated the Kansas City Chiefs on their Superbowl victory and their representation of their “great state of Kansas.” While campaigning in Beaverton, Oregon, on May 9, 2008, then-Senator Obama told a crowd: “It is wonderful to be back in Oregon. Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states. I think one left to go.”
In another display of his less than exemplary grasp on geography, in November, 2011, President Obama apparently forgot where he was while speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu, Hawaii. “When I meet with world leaders,” he said, “what’s striking — whether it’s in Europe or here in Asia — the kinds of fundamental reforms and changes, both on the revenue side and the public pension side, that other countries are having to make are so much more significant than what we need to do in order to get our books in order.”
While he didn’t exactly call her a “nasty woman” or lead a crowd into chanting “lock her up,” Obama betrayed his true feelings for his future secretary of state when during a 2008 Democratic Primary debate, he described Hillary as “Likeable enough.” To Obama’s point, when you’re only “likeable enough,” it’s usually not a good idea to call your opponent’s supporters “a basket of deplorable.” See: the 2016 Presidential Election.
Of course, when Obama said “We’re breaking protocol here… That’s the good thing about being President, I can do whatever I want” with respect to deviating from the approved itinerary during a 2014 tour of Monticello, he was joking. Can you imagine how quickly all the keyboard warriors would rush to their battle stations if Trump said such a thing in jest?
But Trump is sundowning, right?
On May 26, 2008, President Obama either slipped up during his speech in Las Cruces, New Mexico – or saw dead people in the audience. Nevertheless, this did not stop the press from later having a field day when Trump said parents of Korean War MIA’s had asked for him to retrieve their children’s remains from their resting place in North Korea: “I was on the campaign. I’d say, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t have any relationship.’ But they said, ‘When you can, President, we’d love our son to be brought back home,’ you know, the remains.”
It’s not quite as explosive as Trump’s “I would bomb the shit out of them” but certainly not becoming of “No Drama Obama.”
Just as Trump has not proven to be a “very stable genius,” this list itself shows Obama may not have been a better speechwriter than his speechwriters. Other examples, such as Barry O’Bomber’s destructive policies in the Middle East, show he did not know much about foreign policy either.
One would think this was a Trump quote from his recent refusal to provide more funding to the USPS during the Coronavirus pandemic. “The Postal Service is a joke,” he said. For context, President Obama’s quote is from 2009 when he bungled a response to a question about whether universal healthcare would negatively impact private healthcare. While he certainly made a case for private corporations, the comment did not exactly reflect confidence in government agencies.
D’oh! Poland suffered greatly at the hands of Nazi Germany, who built a large number of death camps while they occupied the country during WWII. This slip-up was certainly an Obummer during a ceremony where the President posthumously awarded Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Compare: the media meltdown when Trump jokingly referenced the actions of the British during the War of 1812 when he asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?”
And the Pièce de résistance: Obama’s 2014 remarks about unrest in Ferguson, Missouri after police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown are almost identical to Trump’s recent comments on the George Floyd riots. Granted, Obama’s people didn’t then tear gas and shoot rubber bullets at protestors to clear the way for a presidential photo-op. But hey, in 2014, there wasn’t the same kind of pressure on social media influencers for curated content like holding a bible upside down in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
What’s the message here? President Trump is the byproduct of decades of Republican and Democratic rule where sitting presidents made a lot of absurd statements whilst they simultaneously eroded your civil liberties and brainwashed you into supporting an imperialist foreign policy. Don’t be woke. Be aware.