In a paper written 26 years ago, then-Harvard Law School student Barack Obama touted then-businessman Donald J. Trump’s stunning success as a perfect example of what most Americans perceived to be the ultimate manifestation of the American Dream.
Reportedly found in historian David J. Garrow’s recently published biography of the former president, “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama,” the full excerpt from Obama’s law school paper read as follows, as reported by The Hill:
“(Americans have) a continuing normative commitment to the ideals of individual freedom and mobility, values that extend far beyond the issue of race in the American mind. The depth of this commitment may be summarily dismissed as the unfounded optimism of the average American — I may not be Donald Trump now, but just you wait; if I don’t make it, my children will.”
Some have taken this statement to mean that Obama himself personally “dreamed of being Trump,” but that’s incorrect. He was merely offering his take on what he believed to be the average America’s idea of achieving the American Dream.
And frankly, the former president was right, though his modern self would be loathe to admit as much. Moreover, President Trump’s amazing success in business continues to represent the American Dream to this day, save for the part about him becoming president — most Americans would probably not be interested in inheriting that many responsibilities.
According to Vice magazine, the point that Obama had been attempting to convey in the paper — reportedly titled “Race and Rights Rhetoric” — was that black activists should “shift away from rights rhetoric and towards the language of opportunity.”