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This receiving party represented a healthy cross section of the people Donald Trump had been mocking, and would continue to spend his campaign mocking.At the time, the president seemed untroubled by Trump.
America was home to devout worshippers and Little League coaches in blue states, civil libertarians and “gay friends” in red states.
Several guests were told to stand in a makeshift pen and wait to have their backgrounds checked a second time.
Listen to the audio version of this article:, I went to the White House to meet the president for lunch.
He said it did not, and he credited the attitude of his mother and grandparents for this. I told him that I had heard the kind of “straighten up” talk he had been giving to black youth, for instance in his 2013 Morehouse commencement address, all my life.
I told him that I thought it was not sensitive to the inner turmoil that can be obscured by the hardness kids often evince.
I told him I thought this because I had once been one of those kids.
He seemed to concede this point, but I couldn’t tell whether it mattered to him.This speech ran counter to the history of the people it sought to address.Some of those same immigrants had firebombed the homes of the children of those same slaves.They did this with a mix of pride and longing—like college seniors in early May.They had no sense of the world they were graduating into. The farewell party, presented by BET (Black Entertainment Television), was the last in a series of concerts the first couple had hosted at the White House. By 6, two long lines stretched behind the Treasury Building, where the Secret Service was checking names.(“As a general proposition, it’s hard to run for president by telling people how terrible things are,” Obama once said to me.)But if the president’s inability to cement his legacy in the form of Hillary Clinton proved the limits of his optimism, it also revealed the exceptional nature of his presidential victories.