Update: In a new interview with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly -- a portion of which aired Monday night -- Trump says he's now convinced that Obama likes him:
O’REILLY: You know what was fascinating? To watch you at the Inauguration with Barack Obama. You guys seemed to get along, alright. Would that be accurate?
TRUMP: It’s a very strange phenomenon. We get along, I don’t know if he’ll admit this, but he likes me. I like him --
O’REILLY: How do you know he does?
TRUMP: Because I can feel it. That’s what I do in life, it’s called -- like, I understand.
Trump said something similar to Sean Hannity a couple weeks back, though he was a bit more circumspect about having the admiration of a man whose legitimacy as president he frequently questioned.
President Trump doesn't lack for self-confidence — at least not outwardly. Everything is the best and the greatest, and “everybody” is always talking about how fantastic is that thing Trump did or said.
And in a new interview, he may have taken this to a whole new level.
Speaking to Fox News's Sean Hannity in an interview airing Thursday night, Trump reflected on his relationship with President Obama, and he said he thinks his predecessor has actually come to like him.
“What amazed me is that I was vicious to him in statements, he was vicious to me in statements, and here we are getting along, we're riding up Pennsylvania Avenue, talk — we don't even mention it,” Trump said. “I guess that's the world of politics. But I was tough on him, he was tough on me, and I like him, he likes me. I think he likes me. I mean, you're going to have to ask him, but I think he likes me.”
For those who need a little history refresher, when you look up the “birther” movement on Wikipedia or seek old news stories about it, there's one man whose name appears almost as much as Obama's: Donald Trump. Trump for years led the effort to question whether Obama was even qualified to serve as president.
Here's a sampling of what Obama has had to say about Trump over the years.
- “We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers." — 2011
- “He spent most of his life staying as far away of working people as he could. And now this guy is going to be the champion for working people?" — September
- “We do not have time for this kind of silliness” — 2011, after releasing his birth certificate
- “It tells you he is insecure enough because he pumps up himself by putting other people down." — October, after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape
- “I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president, and the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people, and I think they recognize that being president is a serious job.” — February
And for good measure, here are some things Trump has said about Obama:
- “He’s the founder of ISIS." — August
- “I think President Obama has been the most ignorant president in our history. … He has been a disaster as a president. He will go down as one of the worst presidents in the history of our country.” — July
- "Where [the birth certificate] says 'religion,' it might have 'Muslim.' And if you're a Muslim, you don't change your religion, by the way.” — March 2011
Is it possible Obama has truly come around to liking this man who for years wielded one of the most notorious political conspiracy theories in U.S. history against him? Sure. Anything's possible. Trump, after all, has shown an ability to win over Republicans who have said awful things about him.
But those Republicans have to deal with Trump over the next four years, just like Obama had to deal with Trump during the transition. And in Obama's case, there is a certain protocol that says an outgoing president should avoid meddling in the affairs of his successor. It's called being diplomatic.
When the two start hanging out a la Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, then we'll talk.