2011 was a different time.
Obama was still president, and Trump was just another ridiculously wealthy real estate magnate. He was also a guest at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, which people have since speculated was the night he decided to run for president.
It goes back to the beginning of Obama’s presidency, when Trump started the ‘birther’ conspiracy theory movement – that Obama was not born in the US, and so wasn’t eligible for his role. He was the leading proponent of this theory, even after months of harassment eventually led the state of Hawaii to issue a statement with a photograph of Obama’s authentic birth certificate.
During the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, Obama and Seth Meyers ridiculed Trump for several things – from his hair to his reality TV show, The Apprentice. At the time, Trump was starting to consider a presidential run, and had spoken about his ambitions publicly. But few took him seriously, including Obama and Meyers.
During the roast, Obama joked:
No one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than 'The Donald'.
He even referenced the ‘birther’ controversy by pretending to play a clip from his birthing video, which was actually just a clip of the Lion King.
And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?
He also teased Trump about his credentials by talking about the tough decisions he had to make on The Apprentice and went as far as to project a mock-up of what the White House would look like if Trump was president (unfortunately, it’s pretty far off). Seth Meyers also got in on the fun by saying that he assumed Trump would be running for president as a joke.
Videos from the event show Trump sitting stiffly in the back of the room, next to the daughter of the owner of the Washington Post. Reports at the time said he left the dinner soon after.
The next day, Trump complained to reporters that Meyers was a has-been and was never particularly funny. A year later, he even offered to pay 5 million dollars to any charity that Obama chose if he released his college transcripts and a copy of his passport.
Even in 2016, Obama roasted him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner again. By this time, Trump was a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. Obama said:
Is this dinner too tacky for The Donald? What could he possibly be doing instead? Is he at home, eating a Trump steak, tweeting out insults to Angela Merkel? What’s he doing?
It seems obvious that some version of the incident has stuck with him since – Trump continues to bring Obama up, even tweeting ‘Obamagate’ without really explaining what that is (and you can’t just add gate to a word to create a political scandal).
Trump has gone on to deny that the Obama roast was the reason why he decided to run, telling the Washington Post in 2016:
It’s such a false narrative. I had a phenomenal time. I had a great evening.
Do you believe him? Watch the whole roast here and judge for yourself: