As the president's popularity began to fade dramatically in the months following the passage of Obamacare and in the lead up to the 2010 midterms, Trump slowly shifted to became a mendacious critic of Obama.
But Trump's past support presented a problem for The Donald in his quest to be a player in Republican presidential politics. In an 2011 interview, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh confronted Trump, saying, "three years ago, you thought Obama had the potential to be great."
"I was hoping," Trump responded. "Three years ago, or, you know, he got elect—he gets—he wins the election, right? And people came to me, and I said, 'I hope he's great. I think he's gonna be great. We all love him.'"
"I want him to do great, Rush, and I'll go a step further," he continued, "I'm a Republican, but if I had my choice of running or having Obama—or somebody, but Obama, even Obama—be a great president, the greatest president ever, I'd be so happy for the country."
But, Trump said, Obama wasn't great.
"But he's not a great president," he said. "He won't be a great president. He doesn't have the capability to be a great president, and the world is laughing. We're like a joke. As a country, we're becoming like a joke."
"Everybody is ripping us off," he added. "But honestly, I love my business. I love it. Like you love your business, I love what I'm doing, I'm doing great—and, by the way, if I run, then you'll see how great I've done. Because I'll put in a financial statement which will knock people's socks off. Just knock their socks off—and, you know, I'm very proud of it. So I'll make a decision prior to June, and we'll see what happens."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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