In the aftermath of the biggest upset in modern US political history, very few seem to recall the moment at which Trump may well have decided to run for President.
At the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011, President Obama roasted Donald Trump, who was in the audience, over the birther certificate saga.
In the context of Trump’s divisive and xenophobic campaign, it is worth recalling that he was instrumental in pushing the racist Tea Party controversy over whether Obama had actually been born in the USA. The story was lapped up by right wing media outlets and shock jockeys.
Obama thought he may have had the last laugh when the state of Hawaii released the official birth certificate. In the Press Correspondents’ Dinner speech, he was even able to afford a joke at his own expense, laced with irony, over his “official birth video”. This turned out to be a clip from The Lion King. He followed this up by pointing out to the Fox News table that this was not to be interpreted literally!
He then set his sights on the Donald. Obama mocked Trump over the triviality of The Apprentice joking that its storylines keep him up at night (presumably as opposed to issues of global import).
Obama went on to humiliate Trump further. He suggested that the Donald could now turn his attention back to more important conspiracy theories, such as the faking of the moon landings, Roswell and what happened to Biggie and Tupac?
This footage is now dynamite.
On the basis of Trump being a billionaire narcissist, this roasting in front of Washington high society would have been difficult to get over. Could this have been the moment when Trump vowed to get revenge and run for President?
Five years on, the two met for the first time in the White House this week as Obama prepared to handover to his nemesis. The meeting was described as cordial but the pictures of a po-faced Obama told another story.
In the same speech in 2011, Obama had even joked improbably about what a Trump White House might look like. An image flashed up for the audience of a kitsch neon sign emblazoned with the garish Trump logo over the entrance of the White House.
In January, the Trump clan will be moving in to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue whilst the Obamas are preparing for the removal vans.
Back in 2000, The Simpsons got there first with their nightmare prediction of Trump as President. In the episode Bart to the Future, Trump becomes President only for the economy to tank. As a result, Lisa Simpson ends up being parachuted into the Oval Office to run the country.
But it now looks like Obama’s joke has come back to haunt him in the worst possible way. He had expected to hand over to Hillary safeguarding his legacy. Instead, a Trump presidency with Republicans controlling Congress means that the Obama legacy may well be in tatters.
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