This week, amid the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Harvey, the wildfires raging across California, and the nuclear threat from North Korea came the news that former President Barack Obama had left a congratulatory note to President Donald Trump—as is recent POTUS custom.
And, despite Trump spearheading a racist birther crusade against him, Obama’s note congratulated Trump “on a remarkable run,” pledging that he and Michelle would be willing to “help in any ways which we can.”
President Trump first acknowledged the existence of the Obama note during a press conference on January 22nd. “I just went to the Oval Office and found this beautiful letter from President Obama. It was really very nice of him to do that, and we will cherish that, we will keep that, and we won’t even tell the press what’s in that letter,” proclaimed Trump.
Of course, as is his wont, he’s since gone back on his word, and has been showing the letter to White House visitors and anyone within earshot.
“That was the third day of Donald Trump’s presidency, back when he still had that new-president smell. That was, like, 18 scandals ago,” joked The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah.
The comedian addressed the contents of the Obama letter on his program, which was obtained and published by CNN this week.
“We are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions—like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection, and civil liberties—that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them,” Obama wrote.
Cut to Noah, mock-sobbing: “I wish that letter was president! It’s so much more qualified!”
The Daily Show host then claimed that 44 was, in his own subtle way, throwing some serious shade at 45.
“I don’t know if Trump realizes it, but that letter is just Obama throwing presidential shade the entire time. Like, that’s not the note you leave for your successor. You leave that note for a first-time babysitter. ‘Dinner’s in the oven, bedtime’s at 7—but not for you—oh, and P.S., the baby’s the one without the fur.’ I mean, Obama’s basically reminding Trump to keep democracy. That’s what the letter’s telling him to do,” said Noah.
He added, “You know the first draft was probably just Obama writing, ‘Dear Donald, Don’t fuck it up. Signed Obama.’ ‘Michelle, what do you think? Tone it down? OK, just a little.’”