It was a moment that inspired the biggest upset in modern political history: President Obama may have personally ignited the spark of Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations when he publicly and mercilessly ridiculed the businessman in 2011.
That year, Trump had dared to question Obama’s presidential eligibility and urged him to release his long-form birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii. Eventually, the White House would release an image of what it said was the certificate.
But on April 30, before the image was posted, Obama and TV comedian Seth Meyers poked fun of Trump at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner – and Trump wasn’t laughing.
Watch the 2011 video of Obama and Seth Meyers taunting Trump:
Meyers rattled off a series of jabs at the billionaire, even poking fun of his hair, as the crowd roared with laughter:
- “Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for president as a Republican, which is surprising since I just assumed he was running as a joke.”
- “Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic because a fox often appears on Trump’s head.”
- “If you’re at the Washington Post table with Trump and you can’t finish your entree, don’t worry. The fox will eat it.”
- “Gary Busey said recently that Donald Trump would make a great president. Of course, he said the same thing about an old, rusty bird cage he found.”
- “Donald Trump owns the Miss USA Pageant, which is great for Republicans because it will streamline their search for a vice president.”
During Meyers’ remarks, Obama can be seen laughing.
Trump occasionally cracks a smile but manages to keep a straight face, watching the performance while the surrounding crowd laughs at his expense.
Then the president continued with his own speech suggesting Trump was a conspiracy theorist and mocking his qualifications for the White House:
- “Now I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter – like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
- “All kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example, no, seriously, just recently in an episode of ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meat Loaf. You fired Gary Busey, and these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir, well handled.
- “Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he certainly would bring some change to the White House.” Obama then pointed to a photo on a projector screen. It showed an image of “the Trump White House” featuring a towering hotel, casino and golf course. The White House columns were leafed in gold, and bikini-clad women played in the North Lawn fountain.
After every crack, the crowd roared with laughter.
Fast-forward to September of this year. Trump political adviser Roger Stone told PBS’ “Frontline” that event marked a turning point for the future Republican nominee and president-elect.
“I think that is the night he resolves to run for president,” Stone said, adding, “I think that he is kind of motivated by it: ‘Maybe I’ll just run. Maybe I’ll show them all.'”
Former “Apprentice” contestant Omarosa Manigault, a Trump surrogate and African-American outreach director, attended the dinner that night.
She echoed Stone’s observations.
“I thought, ‘Oh, Barack Obama is starting something that I don’t know if he’ll be able to finish,'” Manigault told “Frontline.”
“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump,” she said in September, predicting a Trump win.
“It’s everyone who has ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him — it is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”
Obama and Meyers certainly weren’t the only high-profile figures to scoff at the mere idea of a Trump presidency.
As WND reported, best-selling author and political pundit Ann Coulter appeared as a guest on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on June 19, 2015.
Maher asked, “Ann, which Republican candidate has the best chance at winning the general election?”
Coulter’s response: “Of the declared ones? Right now, Donald Trump.”
The audience instantly burst out into laughter and shock.
Watch Ann Coulter’s appearance on HBO: