If Trump is remembered for anything years from now, it will almost certainly be the way in which he degraded and demeaned the voice of the president. For centuries, statements from the Oval Office were invested with a gravitas and authority unparalleled in world affairs.
Now, they’re more likely to come in the form of inane tweets sent in the middle of the night to complain about press coverage or to attack government institutions like the FBI. It’s an utterly undignified, universally embarrassing means of communication that casts the President of the United States as a petulant child rather than the most powerful leader in the world.
Now, in a new interview with Prince Harry for BBC Radio 4, former President Barack Obama seems have taken a shot at Donald Trump’s unhealthy Twitter habits.
In the interview, which was recorded in September and finally aired today, President Obama called social media a “powerful tool” for people to convene and meet online but added that it’s not enough, and people also have to make an effort to meet in person to truly get to know each other.
He stressed the importance of face-to-face meetings because social media has a way of simplifying people down from the complicated individuals they a really are.
Social media is “corroding civil discourse,” Obama added, in what appeared to be a veiled swipe at Trump, who is well known for his outrageous outbursts on Twitter and frequent unhinged tweetstorms. Often, the reality television president has attempted to use the social media platform to announce public policy, both foreign in domestic, in a fashion that has inevitably led to confusion.
Governing can’t be done in 140 characters (or 280 with the recent Twitter update), because it’s far too nuanced for such a blunt, hamfisted approach. Much of Trump’s failed presidency is due to his inability or unwillingness to engage with details to craft meaningful, workable legislation.
Prince Harry also asked President Obama about his feelings during Trump’s inauguration. Obama said he was thankful that he had Michelle with him during the process and praised her wonderful character and personality. He felt that together the two of them did their work with integrity and with satisfaction. He added that despite feeling that things were left undone and concern about the future of the country, he had a sense of “serenity” during the inauguration.
"Overall there was serenity there. More than I would have expected."@BarackObama on his feelings after @realDonaldTrump was inaugurated as US President https://t.co/69dpnhlEvL #r4today pic.twitter.com/lIL51ywMku
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) December 27, 2017
The interview also included a charming and far less serious segment, in which Prince Harry fired off a serious of fun either/or questions at President Obama, ranging from whether he prefers LeBron James or Michael Jordan to whether he prefers the White House or Buckingham Palace.
A previously released teaser video of the interview allowed Obama to show off his trademark wit, and he jokingly asked if he should use a British accent.
'Do I need a British accent?' @BarackObama is interviewed by Prince Harry for his guest edit of @BBCr4today. In this warm-up, the prince jokingly warns the ex-president he'll get "the face" if he pauses too long between answers #r4today pic.twitter.com/2887dGlJkG
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) December 17, 2017
It’s difficult to listen to this exchange and not pine for the days when we had a dignified, intelligent, compassionate man in the White House instead of the hateful boor that currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. President Obama was a real leader, Trump is barely even an adult.
Click here to listen to the full interview.