Donald Trump has always been one to speak candidly, and in 2009, he had a few choice words about President Obama. Most of them, shockingly, were positive. "What he has done is amazing," Trump wrote in the first chapter of his 2009 book, Think Like A Champion, when retelling an interview he did for New York 1's Inside City Hall, BuzzFeed's political reporter Andrew Kaczynski reported.
Trump also wrote, "I told [Dominic Carter] that Barack will need to be a great president because we're in serious trouble in this country. It hasn't been this way since 1929. So he doesn't have much choice—he will simply have to be great, which he has a very good chance of doing."
Trump also praised Obama for winning the election:
The fact that he accomplished what he has—in one year and against great odds—is truly phenomenal. If someone had asked me if a black man or woman could become president, I would have said yes, but not yet. Barack Obama proved that determination combined with opportunity and intelligence can make things happen—and in an exceptional way.
Above all, Trump seemed confident in Obama's ability to lead a post-9/11 and post-Bush era America:
After 9/11, this country received a lot of compassion from countries and people around the world. Within a short amount of time, however, we were hated. How did that happen? [...] The world is excited about Barack Obama and the new United States. Let’s keep it that way."
He elaborated on that during his Larry King appearance in April 2009. "Well, I really like him," Trump told King. "I think that he's working very hard. He's trying to rebuild our reputation throughout the world. I mean, we really have lost a lot of reputation in the world."
He added, "And, you know, the world looks at us differently than they used to."
He called Obama someone with "a wonderful personality, a good speaker, somebody people trust." King asked the man who wrote a book on champions if he sees Obama as a one, and Trump said, "Oh, yes, he's a champion."