Obama has grace and style that Trump will never have

Monday 29 February 2016

Picture credit: Twitter/@AOL

This week the evercharming Donald Trump told a heckler at a Republican rally in Las Vegas that he’d “like to punch him in the face”.

Just imagine the silvertongued speeches a future President Trump would make.

“I’m going to build a wall and make those Mexican rapists pay for it. I’m going to ban Muslims from entering America. And I’ll punch in the kisser anyone who disagrees with me, OK?” In contrast this week I watched President Obama as he pledged to close Guantanamo Bay.

Now in his final year of office, shutting the prison camp was central to Obama’s 2008 campaign. But he has met with staunch opposition from Republicans in Congress and the American public.

His final appeal to close the camp is unlikely to succeed but what struck me about his address on the subject was how gifted a speaker he is. You cannot take your eyes off him when he’s on TV.

His handsome face is earnest and persuasive. He’s overwhelmingly presidential in manner and bearing. My daughter was watching the news with me and said: “I love him.” We both loved him even more when we saw Barack and Michelle greeting a wonderful old lady inside the White House.

Virginia McLaurin is 106 and black. The joy in her face as she whooped, cheered and boogied with the POTUS and the FLOTUS was glorious to watch. This gorgeous little old lady said she’d never dreamed she’d ever be invited to the White House.

She bopped a bit more and then stood still, stared with enormous pleasure at Obama and said: “A black president. Yay!” And turning to Michelle: “And his black wife!” Those words and the joyous expression on her face spoke volumes about the significance of Obama’s achievement in race-torn America.

And he and Michelle were wonderfully kind to Virginia, sharing her undiluted pleasure. The most memorable US presidents have enormous charm. JFK, even Bill Clinton. This week we bumped into a group of American tourists and asked them how they felt about Trump.

They told us he made them “ashamed to be American”. Hillary Clinton doesn’t have her husband’s charisma or Obama’s elegant charm. But the alternative to her, if she wins her party’s nomination, is unbearable. And she does have a sort of confident glamour. My daughter says she loves her too. Let’s hope our little opinion poll of two proves to be right.

Read more in Richard and Judy's column for the Daily Express here.
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