Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump praised President Obama in 2009 in his book Think Like A Champion and on CNN’s Larry King Live.
Trump, who is currently hovering near the top of the Republican field in recent presidential polls, wrote of Obama in his book, “what he has done is amazing.”
Trump added, “the fact that he accomplished what he has—in one year and against great odds—is truly phenomenal.”
Trump also wrote he thought Obama “has the mark of a strong leader” and said Obama’s comments on the economy “have led me to believe that he understands how the economy works on a comprehensive level.”
Here’s the full except, which is in the first chapter of the book:
After the election in November of 2008, I was interviewed by Dominic Carter of New York 1 (who has recently, as of late 2009, gone through a great deal with spousal abuse) on his program called “Inside City Hall.” New York 1 is an all-news program that is popular in New York City, and Dominic has a dynamic television presence. He describes me as “a man not known for keeping his opinions to himself,” and we covered some interesting topics. Dominic asked about the election and I was honest about it. McCain was in an almost impossible situation. Bush had been so incompetent that any Republican would have a hard time unless they could bring back Eisenhower. Bush was a disaster for the country as well as for the Republican Party. Then he asked me about Barack Obama. I told him that Barack will need to be a great president because we’re in serious trouble as a country. It hasn’t been this way since 1929. So he doesn’t have much choice—he will simply have to be great, which he has a very good chance of being. What he has done is amazing. The fact that he accomplished what he has—in one year and against great odds—is truly phenomenal. If someone had asked me if a black man or woman could become president, I would have said yes, but not yet. Barack Obama proved that determination combined with opportunity and intelligence can make things happen—and in an exceptional way. He is not walking into an easy or enviable situation. As of October of 2008, the U.S. government reported a $237 billion deficit. The good news is that Obama seems to be well aware of the situation. His comments have led me to believe that he understands how the economy works on a comprehensive level. He has also surrounded himself with very competent people, and that’s the mark of a strong leader. I have confidence he will do his best, and we have someone who is serious about resolving the problems we have and will be facing in the future.To me that is very good news. After 9/11, this country received a lot of compassion from countries and people around the world. Within a short amount of time, however, we were hated. How did that happen? We had no dialogue with other countries because they just plain hated us. What’s different today is that we have a new chance, a new beginning. The world is excited about Barack Obama and the new United States. Let’s keep it that way.
Likewise, in April of 2009, Trump told CNN’s Larry King of Obama, “I really like him,” saying he was “working very hard” and “trying to rebuild our reputation throughout the world.”
Trump said he thought “the world looks at us differently than they used to” because of Obama.
The reality star added, “I do agree with what they’re doing with the banks” on how Obama was handling the financial crisis.
He also stated he thought Obama has “a wonderful personality” and was “somebody that people trust.”
“I think that he’s really doing a nice job in terms of representation of this country,” said Trump. “And he represents such a large part of the country.”
“I think he’s doing a really good job,” he concluded.
Here’s the transcript from the April 2009 Larry King appearance:
KING: There are a lot of great topics. One of them is Barack Obama. In fact, the list at the back of the book on the topics, the number one is, “Barack Obama’s election ushers in a different world.”
How do you assess him?
TRUMP: Well, I really like him. I think that he’s working very hard. He’s trying to rebuild our reputation throughout the world. I mean, we really have lost a lot of reputation in the world. The previous administration was a total disaster, a total catastrophe.
And, you know, the world looks at us differently than they used to. And I think he’s trying to restore our reputation within the world. And he was handed a pretty bad deck of cards. I mean, he was given a pretty tough situation.
And I’m not saying I agree with everything he’s doing. I do agree with what they’re doing with the banks. Whether they fund them or nationalize them, it doesn’t matter, but you have to keep the banks going.
Beyond that, I’m not so sure I agree with it, because I…I am worried, ultimately, about inflation. If you take this much money and keep pouring it into the economy, I worry about what’s going to happen in two years with respect to not only interest rates, but inflation.
KING: Do you have any regrets about endorsing McCain?
TRUMP: No. I’ve known John for a long time. And I’ve never met our current president. And I look forward to doing it. But I’ve known John, really, for a long time. He’s a good man. He’s a quality man. So certainly I have no regrets about that.
KING: Any advice — it may be presumptuous to say this — but any advice you’d give the president — something you think he should do he’s not doing?
TRUMP: Well, I think what he is doing and what he wasn’t doing initially is talking up the economy, talking up the country. I think he’s really gone from maybe not doing it so much at the beginning — and, in fact, he was being criticized for it — to really doing it in spades. And I think that’s good.
I think he’s talking up the country. I think he’s talking up — starting to talk up the economy.
And, you know, economy is largely a psychological thing. If people think the banks are weak, the country is going to be weak. Now, the problem is, the banks are weak. We know they’re weak. They’re not loaning money.
Now he has to get the banks to go in and start loaning the money.
KING: Why does he retain this incredible popularity?
TRUMP: Well, I think he’s sort of a guy that just has a wonderful personality, a good speaker, somebody that people trust. And I also think that the comparison with his predecessor is so different — it’s so huge that it really has made a great impact on people.
I think that he’s really doing a nice job in terms of representation of this country. And he represents such a large part of the country.
I mean, to think that a black man was going to be elected president — I watched television for years where the great political analysts were saying maybe in 50, maybe in 100 years.
Here’s a man that not only got elected, I think he’s doing a really good job.
Now, the sad part is that he can’t just do a good job. He’s got to do a great job. Because if he does a good job, that’s not good enough for this country. That’s how bad the country has become.
KING: Do you assess him as a champion?
TRUMP: Oh, yes, he’s a champion. I mean, he won against all odds. If you would have looked — when he first announced, people were giving him virtually no chance. And he’s just done something that’s amazing.
KING: More on Donald Trump…
TRUMP: He’s totally a champion.
Here’s what Trump said about Obama in his presidential announcement speech in June:
“You know, when President Obama was elected, I said, “Well, the one thing, I think he’ll do well. I think he’ll be a great cheerleader for the country. I think he’d be a great spirit.
“He was vibrant. He was young. I really thought that he would be a great cheerleader.
“He’s not a leader. That’s true. You’re right about that.
“But he wasn’t a cheerleader. He’s actually a negative force. He’s been a negative force. He wasn’t a cheerleader; he was the opposite.”
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