Former Obama Staffer’s Story Will Make You Yearn For A President With A Heart

by Mike Julianelle
Originally Published: 
Image via Twitter

Lee’s Twitter thread highlights the differences between Obama and Trump

It can almost be hard to remember, after the last year of seemingly perpetual indignities and offenses emanating from Pennsylvania Avenue, but we once had a president who was respectful of everyone. The Obama administration was led by a man whose personality and policies showcased the kind of compassion and empathy we expect from our leaders but that has been in short supply these days.

Former Obama staffer Gary Lee shared a story of a brief exchange with his president that highlights those exact qualities. It will make you feel good, until the contrast makes you feel bad.

Gary Lee was a White House liason under Obama, and he had never tweeted before Saturday…

But, as he describes in his second post on the platform, something President Trump recently did had inspired him to share a story.

That exchange has been circulating online, just a day or two after the President referred to Haiti – and other countries of predominately non-white citizens – as a “shithole.” It is just the latest example of Trump revealing his ignorance and “telling it like it is,” aka, being the obvious bigot he’s always been.

Gary dives into his story, starting with the circumstances that led him to a farewell encounter with President Obama, who knew he was leaving to move to Korea.

President Obama didn’t merely say goodbye, he did something meaningful that Gary has never, and will never, forget.

How could he forget it, with that amazing photo from White House photographerand Trump Troll – Pete Souza?

Lee goes on to explain his path to the White House.

And describes he conversation he had with fellow Obama staffer Kal Penn, who emphasized how remarkable that moment with President Obama had been.

Lee uses his last few tweets to explain exactly why the moment was so meaningful for the son of hardworking immigrants from Korea.

The Lee’s family journey, from $20 dollars in the bank to a son working in the White House, is the very manifestation of the American Dream. A fact of which Lee is well aware.

He closes the series of tweets, authored just two days before we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with one of the reverend’s most inspiring and meaningful quotes.

The fact that this story is circulating on the weekend before MLK Jr. Day and just after President Trump’s latest revealing comments about countries and people who aren’t white puts a fine point on the contrast between the America we want and the America we are becoming under our current commander in chief.

Gary Lee’s story is one of countless examples of President Obama’s respect for the ideals on which America was founded, and the very people from diverse backgrounds that have made, and continue to make, this country what it is. People like the Korean-American Gary and his parents, who made their way in this country under difficult circumstances and are models of what it means to be American.

President Trump’s comments and conduct reflect attitudes that don’t belong in anyone’s head, let alone the leader of our country. Gary Lee’s tweets are a bittersweet reminder of how far we have fallen.

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