It's no secret that I and the entirety of America have compared President Donald Trump to an unruly toddler throwing a tantrum at the grocery store. I mean, Trump's tweets alone are the digital embodiment of a bratty kid who'll destroy everything in your living room until they get their way. (OK, I may be a little annoyed at my son right now.) But what about describing his presidency through the lens of parenthood? How would he stack up against, say, former President Barack Obama? Well, there's an answer: Recently, Michelle Obama compared Trump and Obama with a powerful parenting metaphor, and it makes complete sense.
On Friday, the former first lady spoke at Boston's Simmons Leadership Conference, an annual top-level women's leadership event, where she didn't hold back on her personal views about Trump's behavior in office or his flailing administration, according to Mashable. In a sit-down talk with Simmons College President Helen Drinan, Obama said that her husband was the "responsible parent" during his presidency, Mashable reported, while Trump is what she labeled the "other" parent — the one who may seem like fun, but, in the end, is pretty careless with responsibilities and may have a long-term negative effect on kids.
Obama told Drinan, according to People:
For the eight years Barack was president, it was like having the ‘good parent’ at home. The responsible parent, the one who told you to eat your carrots and go to bed on time.
As for the sitting president, the former first lady said of Trump,
And now we have the other parent. We thought it’d feel fun, maybe it feels fun for now because we can eat candy all day and stay up late, and not follow the rules.
To be honest, I'm of two minds with the parenting metaphor Obama had used to described the two presidents, who are distinct opposites when it comes to their politics and approach. One the one hand, I agree with her: Trump is not a responsible president. He seems more focused on demanding adoration, admiration, and loyalty than he is on executing his duties effectively. On the other hand, I don't know if parents who may fit some, if not all, of that description deserve to be associated with Trump.
Sure, the "fun" parent may allow their kid to eat candy all day, which can lead to a sugar overload that can hurt your body in a number of ways. But I'm going to guess that those parents are also not waging war with North Korea through Twitter. At least, I hope they're not.
Still, my little gripes aside, Michelle Obama is right. Responsibility is at the core of this metaphor. If you look at how President Obama moved America forward during his two terms compared to Trump's performance to date, you'll see that only one president has actually made progress, responsibly.
Under Obama, the country saw impressive job growth, a dwindling unemployment rate, and a stable decline in poverty, according to The Washington Post. Trump has failed to make any significant or comparable progress during his first year in office because, as The Washington Post pointed out, whatever growth the U.S. economy was seeing as of December was because of the policies implemented by the previous administration — Obama's administration.
Instead, Trump is picking fights on social media with basically everyone who exists in the world. Or he's running off to his golf course in the middle of a crisis. Or he is going on nonsensical rants during religious holidays because, for some reason, that's what you do when you're standing next to an Easter bunny for a fun annual event on the White House lawn. Or... or... or... you get the point.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.