Donald Trump Complimented Barack Obama In This Surprising Way

Donald Trump isn't particularly meek when it comes to expressing his opinions on public figures, and rarely does his light of approval shine down on anyone who isn't in agreement with him. So, in a somewhat confusing conversation with Bill O'Reilly, Trump complimented fellow former president Barack Obama going so far as to call him "sharp and smart." The comments stand in contrast to the years of harsh criticism he has leveled at the Obamas. 

The kind words came about during a chat with O'Reilly on the first night of their four-date History Tour in Sunrise, Florida, per The Sun Sentinel. "I liked him," Trump said about Obama, in the midst of a crowd booing at the former president's name. Trump then described Obama as "smart and sharp." However, all of his comments weren't quite so complimentary. Trump criticized Obama's methods and blamed him for causing "tremendous division" within the American population, according to the newspaper.

Trump opted out of commenting on President Joe Biden to O'Reilly, simply stating he doesn't know the president personally. However, Trump did dismiss the rumors that Biden was secretly acting out the political agenda of Obama, stating that Obama "likes to golf too much," per Business Insider. Trump's relatively positive attitude towards Barack Obama opposes his numerous critical views of the former president, making the exchange with O'Reilly all the more perplexing. 

Donald Trump's relationship with Barack Obama

While Donald Trump may claim to "like" Barack Obama today, this was not always the case. He was a strong proponent of the "birther movement," which claimed that Obama was not born in the United States, per ABC News. As recently as 2016, Trump was still refusing to admit that Obama was a natural born American citizen, more than five years after the latter had released his birth certificate.

What's more, Trump went on record in 2011 describing Obama as a "terrible student." "I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump told The Associated Press, per NBC New York. "I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records. I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard," Trump said. "We don't know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president."

Despite all of his arguably unkind words, Trump seems to be convinced that Obama is a fan of his. For the second time, he told The Washington Post as much in 2017. "I don't know if he'll admit this, but he likes me," Trump said at the time. Obama hasn't responded to Trump's most recent praise at the time of this publication, but who knows — maybe he's just "too busy golfing."