How Obama & Trump Celebrated Their Birthdays Shows A Sharp Divide Between The Two Men
With a combined 129 years of life, there have been a lot of birthdays between President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama. Usually the two men are compared in the political arena, but how Obama and Trump celebrate their birthdays also reveals a good deal about the two leaders.
Obama's Aug. 4 birthday celebrations became more elaborate as his celebrity grew as a young president, while Trump's June 14 festivities in office have become decidedly more low-key affairs.
This wasn't always the case — Trump has a longtime flair for public celebrations of himself. The Washington Post cheekily reported in June 1988 that Trump threw a "modest affair" for his 42nd birthday. The party was at a Trump casino and hotel in Atlantic City and included "a 15-foot spaceship zooming from the stage to hover amid smoke and flashing lasers," a remix of Michael Jackson's song "Bad" about Trump, and prerecorded birthday videos from celebrities like Liza Minnelli, according to the newspaper. The Post also reported that he received a telegram from former President Ronald Reagan.
As Trump aged, his birthdays only seemed to get more over-the-top. At Trump's 44th birthday party in 1990, Saturday Night Live comedian Joe Piscopo performed as Frank Sinatra, according to BuzzFeed News. This party was also at a Trump casino and hotel in Atlantic City, and there were video messages from celebrities like Elton John, according to the news outlet.
Trump's 50th Birthday
Trump's 50th birthday party was at Trump Tower in New York, according to the New York Times. "He just decided he wanted to do a big blowout. He never changes," Maples, then Marla Trump, told the newspaper. The party had a lot of distinctly Trump details: enlarged black-and-white photos of a young Trump, an ice sculpture designed to look like Marla as a mermaid, and Swedish meatballs, according to the Times.
Trump's First Birthday In Office Was Notable For A Completely Different Reason
On Trump's 71st birthday (and his first while in office), a gunman shot at people practicing for the congressional baseball game, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. USA Today reported that all events on Trump's calendar were canceled that day.
Trump, who shares a birthday with the U.S. Army, sent a birthday message to the military branch on Twitter at the beginning of the day.
Trump's 72nd Birthday — And Second In Office
Trump's birthdays since moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have become much more laid-back. For his 72nd birthday, nothing appeared on Trump's official daily schedule.
Obama's 48th Birthday — And Helen Thomas' 89th Birthday
By comparison, Obama's own birthday celebrations got more celebrity-filled as his time in office increased. On Obama's 48th birthday, he surprised longtime White House press corps journalist Helen Thomas with a plate of cupcakes, according to the Guardian. It was her 89th birthday. Obama led the press corps in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" to celebrate Thomas.
Obama Took On The GOAT For His 49th Birthday
As a part of his celebrations for his 49th birthday, Obama played a pickup basketball game with NBA greats like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in 2010, according to the Washington Post.
Obama had a basketball court built where there's usually presidential tennis courts, according to the Post, but Obama's also known to play at Fort McNair just outside the district, where this pickup game was played.
Obama's 50th Birthday
Obama celebrated his 50th birthday at least twice. The first celebration was a campaign fundraiser in Chicago, Illinois, in 2011. On his actual birth day, then-President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama threw a massive barbecue at the White House. According to Politico, attendees included Jay-Z, Tom Hanks, Charles Barkley, and Hillary Clinton. Stevie Wonder performed a medley of songs for partygoers, and Michelle and their daughters brought out a cake for Obama.
Obama's Last Birthday Party In Office
In 2016, then-First Lady Michelle Obama threw a private party for Obama's 55th birthday. The guest list included Beyoncé, Usher, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and Magic Johnson, according to USA Today (and Johnson's own tweets).
While both Obama and Trump are no stranger to celebrity, their birthday habits seemed to have reversed through their presidencies. But Trump has only been in office two years. He has at least two more birthdays left in the White House to throw another major birthday bash.