Signs of strain in Trump-Obama truce

Signs of strain in Trump-Obama truce
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President Obama and President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE are beginning to trade jabs again, threatening the truce they seemed to reach after the election. 

The two men sparred for years, but they both toned down the attacks following Trump’s election as they sought to create a smooth transition to the next administration.

Trump talked of how he had enjoyed an Oval Office meeting with Obama, while the president praised the Republican as a “pragmatic” and “gregarious” leader. 

But the tensions are rising up again, with Trump on Wednesday ripping Obama for making “inflammatory” statements during the transition period.


Still, Trump said Wednesday that he had spoken to Obama and had a "general conversation" that was "very, very nice.”

"Our staffs have been getting along very well and I'm getting along very well with [Obama], other than a couple of statements that I responded to, and we talked about it and smiled about it and nobody is ever going to know because we are never going to be going against each other," Trump said later.

Here’s how the tumultuous relationship between Trump and Obama has evolved.

Spring 2011: Trump questions Obama’s birthplace

As he begun to consider running for president, Trump pushed the false theory that Obama is not eligible to serve as president because he is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. 

“Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?” he asked during a March 2011 appearance on ABC’s “The View.”

“And you know what? I wish he would because I think it’s a terrible pale that’s hanging over him.”

He floated the possibility Obama was hiding his birth certificate because it showed that he is Muslim. "I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that,” Trump told Fox News at the time. 

April 27, 2011: Obama releases the birth certificate

After weeks of prodding by Trump, Obama released the long-form version of his birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii.

“We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers,” Obama said in an apparent reference to Trump.  

Trump later boasted about forcing Obama to release the document, saying he felt "really honored" to have "played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue." 

April 30, 2011: Obama roasts Trump  

Obama struck back against Trump at that year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where the real estate mogul was in attendance.  

“No one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald,” Obama said. 

“And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”

Trump told The Hill in an interview earlier this year that he enjoyed the dinner despite Obama’s jabs. 

"I had a great time. I was very honored by all of the attention. The president told joke after joke and it was good.”

Oct. 2012: Birther feud continues

For years after the birth certificate was released, Trump continued to claim uncertainty about Obama’s birthplace.

In the fall of 2012, Trump offered to donate $5 million to a charity of Obama’s choice if he produced his college transcripts and passport records. 

Obama a day later dismissed Trump’s offer with a joke. 

"This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya," Obama told Jay Leno, then the host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.” 

Summer 2015: Trump enters White House race 

Trump ramped up his attacks on Obama after he officially entered the presidential race in June 2015, taking aim at his economic and foreign policies. 

The businessman continued to make it personal against the president, still questioning whether he was natural-born U.S. citizen.

At a candidate forum in Iowa that summer, Trump questioned whether Obama loves the country he leads.  

“One thing that he would do, he would be a great cheerleader for this country,” Trump said. “He’s been horrible. I don’t know if he loves America. I hope he loves America.”

Throughout most of last year, Obama continued to treat Trump as a punch line. At the correspondents’ dinner in late April, Obama joked that Trump was “here — still.”

Fall 2015: Obama says Trump won't win 

In an October interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Obama called Trump "the classic reality TV character" who had sucked up oxygen in a divided Republican primary field. 

Asked if he thought Trump’s campaign would fizzle, Obama said he would “leave it up to the pundits to make that determination. I don't think he'll end up being president of the United States." 

Summer 2016: Trump gains momentum, Obama pushes back 

As Trump marched to the Republican nomination, he and Obama continued to trade insults. But the president’s tone toward Trump became more serious.

On Aug. 2, he declared Trump “unfit” to serve as president after the GOP nominee insulted the Muslim parents of a fallen U.S. service member. 

Trump responded by calling Obama "the worst president, maybe in the history of our country.”

"I think he's been a disaster. He's been weak, he's been ineffective," Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. 

Sept. 16, 2016: Trump says Obama born in U.S. 

Trump conceded Obama is a natural-born American citizen during an appearance at his new luxury hotel in Washington.

"President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden hits new low in Gallup poll Biden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work Obama, Springsteen releasing book based on their podcast MORE was born in the United States. Period,” he said. 

But he blamed his opponent, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Shontel Brown gaining ground against Nina Turner in Ohio: poll Biden hits trail for McAuliffe in test of his political brand MORE, for starting the controversy during her first run for president.

"Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” he said. “I finished it.”

Fall 2016: The attacks continue 

Trump's announcement did nothing to cool the tensions with Obama, as they continued to do battle up until Election Day.  

“Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president,” Obama said at a Nov. 3. rally in Miami. “Anybody who is upset about a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit you don’t want in charge of nuclear weapons." 

Appearing at a rally on another side of the state, Trump said, “He’s down here campaigning for crooked Hillary. This guy ought to be back in the office working.” 

Nov. 10, 2016: Trump and Obama make nice

Trump dramatically changed his tune on Obama after winning the November election.  

The two met for the first time in person in the Oval Office on Nov. 10, where they put on a display of unity and pledged a smooth transition of power. 

Weeks later, Trump was still singing Obama’s praises.

“We have a really good chemistry together,” he said on NBC’s “Today” on Dec. 7. “We talk."

"He loves the country,” he added. “He wants to do right by the country and for the country, and I will tell you, we obviously very much disagree on certain policies and certain things but, you know, I really like him as a person."

Obama’s praise for Trump has been less effusive, but he urged skeptical voters and foreign leaders to give Trump a chance. 

“I don’t think he is ideological,” Obama said at his first post-election press conference. “I think ultimately he’s pragmatic, in that way. And that can serve him well.”

Dec. 26, 2016: Fault lines emerge 

Cracks in the nascent relationship began to show in the weeks following the election, with the two camps sparring over China, Israel and Russian hacking of U.S. political groups and operatives.  

But a major public fight failed to materialize. Trump said he has spoken to Obama as recently as last Monday. 

Things came to a boil the day after Christmas, when Obama told his former adviser and campaign strategist, David Axelrod, that he could have beaten Trump if he had run again. 

Trump responded numerous times on Twitter, writing there’s “NO WAY” Obama would have defeated him. 

“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition — NOT!” Trump tweeted Wednesday. 

Future White House press secretary Sean Spicer, currently the communications director of the Republican National Committee, denied that the sparring reflects turmoil in the transition. 

"As the inauguration gets closer, both the current president and his team have been very helpful and generous with their time as far as the actual transition, the mechanics of the transition have gone,” Spicer told reporters Wednesday. 

“I expect them to continue to speak fairly regularly."