While the differences between former President Barack Obama and Donald Trump couldn’t be more pronounced, one of the many ways that the nation’s first Black commander-in-chief set himself apart from his successor was how he observed the Fourth of July. The distinctions were ironic, at best, considering how Trump — fresh off of committing potentially treasonous acts with murderous foreign leaders — has repeatedly questioned the patriotism and citizenship of Obama.
But as the country was celebrating its 243rd birthday on Thursday, Trump was preparing to show a North Korea-esque display of the country’s military might. It wasn’t cheap, either, with a reported cost of $2.5 million in funds that the Washington Post said was diverted by the National Park Service from “entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country.” That stood in stark comparison to how Obama rang in his eight Independence Days as president.
Case in point: During his final Fourth of July as president, Obama welcomed popular recording artists Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monae to the White House’s South Lawn and declared in part that “the Fourth of July is about family, it’s about the American family, it’s about us getting together with the people we love most.”
Fast forward to the present and Trump — in between rolling out military weapons of war for the annual July Fourth parade in Washington, D.C. — is busy tweeting divisive commentary about immigrants who are legally trying to seek asylum in America.
Obama’s fateful words on July 4, 2016, were like those from his previous Fourth of July addresses: inspiring and “respectful,” two words that are not typically associated with Trump.
The “independence” celebrated every July 4th is “something that we have to fight for every single day,” Obama said at the time. “It’s something that we have to nurture, and we have to spread the word, and we have to work on. And it involves us respecting each other. And it involves us recognizing that there are still people in this country who are going hungry — and they’re not free because of that. There are still people in this country who can’t find work — and freedom without the ability to contribute to society and put a roof over your head or look after your family, that’s not yet what we aim for.”
Of course, the proof is in the pudding. So please scroll down to see the golden standard for how U.S. presidents are expected to observe and celebrate the Fourth of July as Trump wastes precious government money on his own narcissistic desires.