Donald Trump is clearly miffed at Barack Obama.
On Wednesday, the president-elect tweeted this about the current president.
Previously, Trump had expressed post-election admiration for Obama. “I really enjoyed him a lot,” he told the New York Times last month. As recently as three weeks ago, Trump said this of the man he’s replacing in the Oval Office: “I really, I do like him. I love getting his ideas.”
So, what was the inflammatory statement that Obama made since then? It appears to be continued fallout from Obama saying that he would have beaten Trump had he been constitutionally permitted to run for a third term.
Trump responded to that comment at the time by tweeting “NO WAY!”
I mean, like, totally no way. But, like, maybe way?
The apparently still offending Obama statement seemed on Wednesday to receive credibility when Gallup released its annual surveys of the most admired men and women in the United States.
Obama edged out Trump as the most admired man, with 22 percent of respondents choosing the outgoing Democratic president and 15 percent choosing the incoming Republican one.
But, you might say, isn’t that a very slim margin and isn’t admiration a poor proxy for electoral success? And didn’t Trump just defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in an election in which Obama campaigned vigorously on her behalf and under the premise that the vote should be a referendum on his years in office?
Perhaps way. But we should look at further evidence to determine if the thing that Barack Obama said that seems to have hurt Donald Trump’s feels so very much might just have been an opinion based in observed reality.
Exhibit A: Obama’s current RealClearPolitics average job approval rating is +12.1.
Exhibit B: Trump’s current RealClearPolitics average favorable rating is -4.7.
Exhibit C: Obama’s current RealClearPolitics average favorable rating is +15.
But, again, you might say: Didn’t Trump just defeat Clinton despite his own massive unpopularity?
Well, here’s Exhibit D: Clinton’s current RealClearPolitics average favorable rating is -12.6.
Obama is vastly more popular than Trump, Clinton was not, ipso facto Obama probably would have won a third term in office had he been on the ticket. Does any of this matter at all? Maybe only insofar as Obama can helpfully explain to Trump that he meant no harm and can unhurt the new president’s emotional feelings, which look as though they may be about to dictate a not insignificant portion of America’s policies.