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When I told Obama that I thought Trump’s candidacy was an explicit reaction to the fact of a black president, he said he could see that, but then enumerated other explanations.When assessing Trump’s chances, he was direct: He couldn’t win. The speech that launched his rise, the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, emerged right from this logic.

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The presumably white “counties around Chicago” did not want their taxes burned on welfare, but they didn’t want them wasted on a bloated Pentagon budget either.

Inner-city black families, no matter their perils, understood “that government alone can’t teach our kids to learn …

I arrived slightly early and sat in the waiting area.

I was introduced to a deaf woman who worked as the president’s receptionist, a black woman who worked in the press office, a Muslim woman in a head scarf who worked on the National Security Council, and an Iranian American woman who worked as a personal aide to the president.

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.

(“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.

For eight years Barack Obama walked on ice and never fell. I was always inappropriately dressed, and inappropriately calibrated in tone: In one instance, I was too deferential; in another, too bellicose.

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.

He had an ability to emote a deep and sincere connection to the hearts of black people, while never doubting the hearts of white people.

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