Ever since he was elected President #Donald Trump has set out to remove and modify pieces of legislation from the Obama Administration. So far, thanks to elements within the Republican Party in Congress, he has failed with the affordable care act known as Obamacare but he has removed assistance to women and each week sees an announcement of other pieces of Obama legislation. But there is one aspect of Barack Obama’s stay in the White House that he cannot remove, the language he gave to the country.

Words of hope

In today’s Washington Post David Nakamura describes the differences between the two men that are contained in their choice of words and messages to the country and to the world.

The choice between the “nasty” world inhabited by Donald Trump as opposed to the world which Barack Obama saw from the White House, a world which had problems but which saw signs of improvement and thus the today is the best world in which to be born.

The statements reported by Nakamura reflect two world views that are legitimate within the experiences of two men who have felt the pressures of sitting in the Oval Office and making decisions that affect the lives of people around the world and in many cases, such as last week’s attack on the Syrian airbase or the attack on ISIS in Afghanistan on Thursday in which the world’s biggest conventional bomb was used for the first time, on whether or not people live or die.

Yet a phrase from Donald Trump in an interview yesterday gave us another insight about the difference between the two men that is more profound that any interpretation of sayings or adjectives.

China and Korea

In an interview in the Wall Street Journal President Donald Trump explained how Chinese President Xi Jinping gave him a brief history of the relations between China and Korea to explain his country’s stance on North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un.

After that lesson President Trump said that he understood that the situation was not as easy for China as he previously believed.

The exchange between the two Presidents highlighted the difference between Barack Obama and Donald Trump and it is a difference that is being seen in the running of the Administration.

As a businessman Donald Trump dealt with his customers in a world of black and white.

It was a world where dealing was simply a matter of taking or leaving the product on offer. The business world does not have the many shades of every colour that are presented in international diplomatic relations.

On the other hand Barack Obama not only had an academic background and even lectured in Law before entering politics, he had experience on other countries where he saw the realities of impoverished countries such as Kenya. The experience in the Senate also gave him the political insight into what would become the year long negotiations that precede the approval of the Affordable Care Act that Donald Trump still wants to repeal.


Words give messages and often these messages are weapons and as with all weapons they can misfire on those who use the incorrectly.

Words such as “bad”, “nasty”, “wrong” are appropriate for the tweets that won him enough votes to gain the Electoral College votes to win the Presidency. But these same words did not resonate with the majority of the voters who did not vote for him.

Worse still, quick messages are not the proper mode of address issues of infinite complexity that he is encountering on the world stage. The history between Russia and the Ukraine is just as complicated and bloody as the history between China and Korea and therefore just as complicated to resolve.

Laws and orders come and go but the perceptions and impressions of the individuals are the true legacy that they leave behind. These perceptions come from the words they use and the messages they give the population as much as the acts that they achieve in Office.

While the Obama Legacy is made up of phrases of hope such as the “yes we can” that won him the first election and was repeated around the world, Donald Trump must understand that his legacy will also include the language he uses to achieve his objectives. It would be sad and tragic for him and the country if the only things that the future remembers of him involve the words “nasty” and “bad”.