I asked President Trump on Friday if he thought it was small, petty and unhelpful to have his predecessor — in a $400,000 speech to global elites in New York City — ridiculing Mr. Trump’s use of social media as a way to go around the liberal press and reach voters directly.
Mr. Trump could have used the opportunity to rake former President Obama as an uncreative, slow-witted hypocrite.
Instead, the president chose an entirely different — and revealing — way to answer the question.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve been exactly great to him, either,” said Mr. Trump, perched forward at his desk in the Oval Office, light flooding through the golden drapes behind him.
“I called the Iran deal the worst deal in the history of deals. It’s a deal that should have never even been conceived,” he said with a slight glare and gentle bob of the head.
“Look, that’s politics,” he said. Shrug.
The guy is a political shark. Always moving. Always on the hunt. Always sniffing for blood.
Offense always. Defense never.
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, is quickly going down as the worst ex-president in history. Last year’s election revealed just how wildly unpopular Mr. Obama’s policies have been all these past eight years, though he himself managed to escape the devastating punishment inflicted on his party.
And now, as elder statesman, Mr. Obama apparently intends to continue with his cool, glib and snarky style. And — just like his presidency — his post-presidency will be petty, small-minded and utterly bereft of imagination or inspiration.
Mr. Trump, meantime, is breaking all the china in Washington as he works to reinvent the wheel. Every. Single. Day.
Sometimes he succeeds effortlessly (illegal border crossings are down 70 percent even before one inch of his wall has been built) and sometimes he fails (Republicans in Congress have yet to repeal Obamacare as promised). But, at the very least, everything Mr. Trump does is new, fresh and original.
Exhibit A: The president’s use of social media to reach voters directly.
“I have 102 million followers between Twitter, Facebook, POTUS, the different things,” he said, spreading his arms vastly.
“Bing, bing, I put it out and then everybody picks it up,” he says, jabbing the air with each “bing.”
“If I send out a press release, I’ll walk in, I’ll dictate a press release, they’ll put it out, you guys won’t even see it.” He waves it away with a hand.
In the same vein, Mr. Trump is reinventing foreign diplomacy, saying startling things about allies and enemies alike.
Mr. Trump suggested that allied spies in London had secretly helped Mr. Obama spy on him and his campaign. Last week, he terrified diplomats who thought Mr. Trump had spoken flippantly about going to war with North Korea.
World leaders are sitting up and quickly realizing this is not a guy to be trifled with.
The china shop keepers inside the State Department were horrified over Mr. Trump’s disregard for protocol by inviting China President Xi Jinping to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
But Mr. Jinping was clearly smitten by Mr. Trump’s unorthodox charm. It probably helps that leaders like President Xi respect American businessmen far more than they respect American politicians.
“How about China? The coal ships aren’t going in,” President Trump boasted, referring to the pressure China is now putting on North Korea to shape up.
“There’s nobody who’s ever had a better relationship with the China leader,” Mr. Trump said flatly. “He’s going to go down as a great leader.”
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, handcuffed himself to conventional thinking, incapable of diplomatic creativity and risk-averse to the point of paralysis. In North Korea, Mr. Obama displayed so much “strategic patience” he might actually have been asleep.
Mr. Trump eagerly pointed to his early success in the Middle East, securing the release of Egyptian-American aid worker Aya Hijazi from a jail in Egypt.
“I said to President [Abdel-Fattah] el-Sissi, ‘You have a young woman, who’s an innocent young woman, who’s going to be in your jail for 28 years. I would greatly appreciate if she could be released. I think it would send a tremendous signal to the people of the United States.’”
And so Miss Hijazi was released.
So that was it? All he had to do was ask? Had it not occurred to the previous administration to do the same?
Mr. Trump laced his fingers together on the Resolute Desk, shrugged his shoulders and said: “Mr. el-Sissi didn’t like President Obama, not even a little bit. He didn’t like him.”
Mr. Trump might not do everything exactly right. But at least he’s doing it differently. And that is exactly what he got elected to do.
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