The person who former President Barack Obama once said personifies the American Dream might surprise you.
A recently published biography on the 44th president by David Garrow titled, “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama” reveals that, while writing a paper at Harvard Law School in 1991, Obama and friend Robert Fisher described billionaire Donald Trump, now the American president, as the personification of American success.
The previously unpublished paper was titled, “Race and Rights Rhetoric,” and explored the idea that black Americans should “shift away from rights rhetoric and towards the language of opportunity," according to Vice.
The duo argued that the civil rights rhetoric of the 1960s served as "a vehicle for black liberation” then but later only "impeded, rather than facilitated black empowerment."
"[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,” they wrote.
"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,” Obama and Fisher explained.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Trump was an image of American success and was lauded in books, television shows, movies and the American media. Those years were also the formative years for Obama, who was still deciding exactly who he would be and what deeply held convictions he would live by.
Obama, of course, had no way of knowing in the early '90s that he and the billionaire he wrote about would become American political superstars two decades later. And it's precisely the differences in worldview that put Obama and Trump on a path of clashes in recent years.
During Obama’s first term as president, Trump pushed the idea that Obama was not born in America and was therefore ineligible to be president. Critics argued that Trump was pushing his "birther conspiracy" because he was racist. Trump also ramped up his rhetoric against Obama in the run-up to announcing his run for the White House in June 2015.
Obama, on the other hand, vocally opposed Trump’s run for president throughout last year’s presidential election and has since spoken out against Trump’s policies in the White House, such as Trump's attempt to block refugees from entering the U.S. and his attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.