The difference between how Trump and Obama talk about books speaks volumes

Shane Croucher
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There's perhaps no better example of the difference in depth between Donald Trump and Barack Obama than how each answered the question: what do you read?

President Trump was asked by Fox News host Tucker Carlson what he does at the end of his working day. "What do you read, what do you watch?" Carlson asked, hoping for some insight into how he likes to unwind in the evening.

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Trump half-answered the question, saying he loves to read, before rambling for nearly three minutes about "getting costs down" and Mexico being "the eighth wonder of the world in terms of plants".

Compare that to Obama's thoughtful answers about his relationship with literature during an interview with the New York Times.

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Obama said that "it was important to pick up the occasional novel during the presidency, because most of my reading every day was briefing books and memos and proposals. And so working that very analytical side of the brain all the time sometimes meant you lost track of not just the poetry of fiction, but also the depth of fiction."

He continued: "Fiction was useful as a reminder of the truths under the surface of what we argue about every day and was a way of seeing and hearing the voices, the multitudes of this country.

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"When so much of our politics is trying to manage this clash of cultures brought about by globalisation and technology and migration, the role of stories to unify – as opposed to divide, to engage rather than to marginalise – is more important than ever.

"And part of what we're all having to deal with right now is just a lot of information overload and a lack of time to process things. So we make quick judgments and assign stereotypes to things, block certain things out, because our brain is just trying to get through the day."

For the sake of completeness, here's Trump's full, er, answer to Carlson.

Well, you know, I love to read. Actually, I'm looking at a book. I'm reading a book. I'm trying to get started. Every time I do about a half a page I get a phone call that there's some emergency, this or that. But we're going to see the home of Andrew Jackson today in Tennessee and I'm reading a book on Andrew Jackson. I love to read. I don't get to read very much because I'm working very hard on lots of different things, including getting costs down. The costs of our country are out of control. But we have a lot of great things happening. We have a lot of tremendous things happening. And remember this: when I came into this job, I inherited a mess. It was a mess in the Middle East. Whether you like it or not, the economy was very, very weak. You look at the 96 million people. You look at all of these people. Now I have good work numbers. I have very good work numbers. You know, employment numbers, unemployment numbers. And so they say four point six, four point seven, and I'm supposed to take a bow. They're not really the numbers because you have people who want jobs who have given up looking for jobs, and when you start adding those numbers onto your numbers, it's not really reflective of where I see. Those are the people, a lot of those people, that got me elected. They elected me. And I'm going to take care of those people. I'm here today because we're going to be opening up automobile plants in Michigan and Ohio and places that Pennsylvania. Places where the plants have left. And not just automobiles. Places where the plants have been stripped out of our country. The jobs have been absolutely destroyed by - I could say stupid management, I could say politicians that didn't know what they were doing - plants have moved to Mexico. You look at what's happened in Mexico. It's the eighth wonder of the world in terms of plants. In terms of what's happening with automobiles. It's going to stop. Now, hopefully we'll get along with Mexico, we're going to see what happens, but I will tell you we cannot continue to close plants in Michigan and have them move to Mexico. Now, since I was president-elect, the word is out. You want to open a plant in Mexico? That's fine. But you're going to pay a very big import tax if you're going to bring that car back into this country. And you know what? Ford, General Motors, Fiat, so many others that we're going to see in a while, they're not moving anymore. They're not going to be moving anymore. And I had my actual highest polling numbers today, you just saw that, it just came out, because people see I'm just working for them. Now, go back to your tax thing. I wanna start that so badly because it's unfair. I paid a lot of tax. I paid $38m in tax for that year, where it was illegally given out, OK. I paid $38m. But honestly, the percentage, is a lower percentage. It's a lot of money. $38m. But it's a lower percentage than somebody who's working in a factory someplace. And that should not be.

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