Both President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump reacted to Fidel Castro’s death. Their responses demonstrate the stark differences between the president we’ve had, and the one who will presumably be sworn in on January 20, 2017.
The Thoughtful President
Obama’s statement reflected an understanding of the most basic issue: why the president should make any statement at all. Who is the audience? It’s not just residents of the United States. He began with that purpose in mind.
“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. “
President Obama gently acknowledged the mixed legacy of the Castro regime. He noted that in both Cuba and the U.S., Cuban people would experience powerful emotions as they recalled Castro’s influence on the lives of individuals and Cuba as a whole.
He did not tell the Cubans what they were, or should be, feeling. After all, what good friends do is accept you where you are, and listen. Rather, the president focused on the work he and the Cuban government had begun to move past 60 years of hostility, and on the bonds of friendship, culture, trade, and family between our two countries.
In closing, again, he put the focus where it belonged—on the people of Cuba— and affirmed the connection between us:
“Today we offer our condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”
Only after communicating what was important did the White House turn to Twitter.
— White House Archived (@ObamaWhiteHouse) November 26, 2016
The Tweeter-in-Chief On Castro’s Death
In contrast, Donald Trump, soon to be our Tweeter-in-Chief, shot from the hip.
His first response was on Twitter:
Fidel Castro is dead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2016
Some hours later, Trump released a statement that described Castro as:
“…A brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.”
He looked forward to helping Cuba begin its “journey to prosperity.”
Then, he added:
“I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) November 26, 2016
After all, for Trump, it’s all about him. Watch this video of the president-elect meeting the president for the first time after the election:
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.