Trump's & Obama's Quotes About America Highlight Their Different Versions Of Progress

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It's no secret that presidents often differ about what they think their country needs, and comparing Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama's quotes about America proves this to be true. Each has, over the years, highlighted various facts and traits that they believe to be America's greatest strengths and weaknesses.

Whenever Obama or Trump reflect on what it means to be American, or what America needs most, they are usually responding to a particular moment in American history. But still, each president has stuck to a pretty similar individual script, and there are definite patterns in how each approaches "Americanness."

President Obama, for example, often underscored how important he believed diversity to be, or how he believed Americans always needed to have their eyes on the horizon if they wanted to be progressive. He frequently said that he thought Americans needed to work together, regardless of their political party, race, or religious affiliation.

In turn, President Trump, who hasn't thus far publicly analyzed America as frequently as Obama did, tends to argue in favor of tightening borders and isolating America from the rest of the world. He at times argues that, per his campaign slogan, America needs to be "made great again," and sometimes he says that this has already been achieved.

One thing that is true is that they are very different, both as people and as leaders. What they say reflects this.

"The Constant Perfecting Of Who We Are"

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"I think the world would look at us differently the day I got elected, because it would be a reaffirmation of what America is, about the constant perfecting of who we are," Obama said back in 2006, according to Game Change, a book about the 2008 election. "I think I can help repair the damage that’s been done."

Trump Said Some Immigrants Come From "Shi*hole Countries"

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"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?," Trump infamously asked.

Obama On Moving On From Racial Discrimination

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“And, you know, obviously, at the inauguration I think that there was justifiable pride on the part of the country that we had taken a step to move us beyond some of the searing legacies of racial discrimination in this country. But that lasted about a day.

Trump Believes Patriotism Expels Prejudice

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"When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice!" Trump said while addressing bigotry.

Obama Dismissed The Importance Of Political Parties

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"There's not a liberal America and a conservative America — there's the United States of America," the future president said at the Democratic National Convention back in 2004.

Trump Says All Americans Salute The Flag

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"It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag," Trump said during his inaugural address.

Obama Suggested Progress Isn't Always Linnear

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"As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path," President Obama said during his 2012 victory speech.

Trump's Version Of American Progress

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"In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving," Trump said during his first address as president.

Obama Believes America Is About Diversity

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"To be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship," Obama said in formal remarks about immigration to the United States.

Trump Believes In "America First"

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"From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First," Trump said, outlining his foreign policy position during his inaugural address.

Obama Said Americans Write Their Own Destinies

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"No matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny," Obama said while delivering remarks on marriage equality.

Trump Says He Made America Great Again

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"Wow! Big pushback on Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York for his really dumb statement about America’s lack of greatness. I have already MADE America Great Again, just look at the markets, jobs, military- setting records, and we will do even better. Andrew “choked” badly, mistake!" referencing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's comments about America's relative greatness.

Trump and Obama disagree about what is needed to move America forward into the future, and in a lot of ways, they represent very real ideological divides among their constituents. They may belong to different political parties, but what they say about their country suggests that their differences are far more distinct than simple political ideology.