While the list of differences between President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama runs long, one difference in particular is hard to miss: how the two leaders act around kids. Yes, while Obama seems completely natural when dealing with his youngest supporters, his Republican successor couldn’t be more different.
For whatever reason, Trump decided to hold aloft this baby at a rally in Tampa, Florida just days before the election. No doubt the gesture was meant to symbolize all that is great about America, but it actually looks horrendously unnatural.
Obama, though, exhibited a down-to-earth nature by lying on the floor to lift up this mini trick-or-treater on Halloween 2015. It seems likely, then, that the president was a super-fun dad to his own two daughters when they were kids – and likely still is now that they’re teenagers.
Trump’s apparent tactic of using kids to increase his appeal might have worked better if he had any kind of natural rapport with them. Instead, all you can do here is feel insurmountable pity for the youngster in his arms.
When Obama hoists a smiling child into his arms, however, it looks natural – and surely increases his appeal. After all, being able to look up to your president as both a role model and a father figure is pretty important.
Indeed, some might say that kids are something of a means to an end for Trump, who was clearly happy to include them in his campaign rallies. On some level it must have worked, but considering how disinterested some of these children look, we can’t imagine that it was a decisive factor in his electoral success.
Obama, by contrast, looks more like he genuinely cares for the kids he interacts with. For instance, photos like this show how his natural engagement is reciprocated by children. Unlike the preceding Trump photo, too, there’s not a cell phone in sight.
There’s little worse for a politician’s image than a crying baby. And Trump’s decision to counter three-month-old Kellen Campbell’s tears with his own exaggerated bawling still beggars belief. As awkward photos go, this is right up there.
Obama, on the other hand, looks completely at ease with this pair of twin boys. Plus, their mom looks perfectly happy to trust the president with her kids – and why shouldn’t she? Rather than crying and screaming, they’re simply dozing peacefully in his arms.
“The Donald” totally looks like he’s offering this kid up as a sacrifice here. His pseudo-smile isn’t really masking his apparent dislike for the poor child, either. If we were this kid’s parents, we’d definitely have something to say to the president-elect.
The adorable smiles on both Obama and baby here, though, look pretty genuine. Can you imagine the look on little Lincoln Smith’s face when her family tell her that she learned to walk in the White House? It’ll probably be similar to her expression here.
We’re not even going to address the fact that Trump is signing what appears to be an action figure of himself. Instead, just take a look at the kid in the baseball cap’s expression. It’s like he’s suddenly become aware of where he is and what he’s doing. And he looks confused.
Obama’s child-friendly meet-and-greet appears to have been rather more successful. Yes, everyone looks genuinely happy to be there – not least the adorable baby giving the president a friendly wave.
The expression on Little Miss Flint’s face here says more than words ever could. In fact, it’s a pretty perfect representation of what many people were thinking when Donald Trump was announced as the country’s next president.
The same Little Miss Flint’s encounter with the current president, however, couldn’t have looked more different. It’s all hugs, smiles and happiness – not the apparent dread and despair she displayed when meeting Trump. In fact, the dissimilarity between the two men’s interactions with the same girl really tells a story.
This baby’s mom might look equal parts terrified and enamored with meeting Donald Trump, but it seems clear which of these emotions the infant is feeling. Yes, it looks absolutely distraught with having the towering businessman grasp its face.
Obama, meanwhile, is more than happy to come down to his guests’ eye level, as he did when crawling alongside baby Ella in the Oval Office. And even though we can’t see her face, we can guess that she looks as content as the president.
Another day, another baby looking disgruntled in Donald Trump’s arms. Sure, babies might not have much awareness of who’s holding them, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that, in these pictures, they always seem to look cheerier when being held by Obama. It’s almost as if they know something.
This baby, for instance, looks almost as happy as Obama. That massive grin would put any child at ease, of course. But the ability to make a baby really laugh and smile seems to be the reserve of the 44th president – and certainly when compared to the soon-to-be 45th.
This kid looks about ready to punch Trump in the face if he doesn’t let him go. See how he’s clenching his fist? And those don’t look like the eyes of someone who’s happy to be there. For your own safety, Donald, put the kid down.
Perhaps Obama’s natural rapport with kids comes so easily because he’s so amused by them. After all, almost every picture of the incumbent president with children seems to feature him laughing. Maybe that’s why his relationship with them is so great.