Speechwriter Shares Obama 2015 Story

12


On June 26, 2015, then President Obama speaks in the Rose Garden after the Supreme Court ruled same sex marriage is constitutional.

Ten days may not feel like enough time for big, sweeping changes to happen during a president’s term, but to former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter, he remembers a truly remarkable week and a half where he saw it happen. Cody Keenan, who was an Obama speechwriter for 10 years, tweeted a series of stories during 10 days of his time with the president in 2015. The incredible look back will likely leave you feeling nostalgic — and seeing even more differences between Obama and President Donald Trump’s tenures.

Keenan begins his story on June 17, 2015, the day of Charleston Church shooting, where nine people died. Obama was asked to deliver the eulogy of the victims. For his speech, Obama wanted to touch upon the idea of “unearned grace.”

These 10 days happened at the same time when the Supreme Court delivers its decisions. So, as a speechwriter, Keenan also needed speeches ready for Obama to deliver in case a ruling was announced. On June 25, 2015, Obama appeared in the Rose Garden and spoke about the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.

At the same time, Obama and his team are still working on his eulogy. However, Obama took to the Rose Garden again on June 26, when the Supreme Court ruled same sex marriage was legal.

Later that day, Obama and his team flew to Charleston, South Carolina to deliver the eulogy. It turns out Obama added the lyrics to Amazing Grace to his speech and said, “You know, if it feels right, I might sing it.”

Obama did indeed go on to lead the congregation in signing Amazing Grace. He returned that night to the White House lit up in rainbow colors. To Keenan, these “Ten days in America that I think about all the time. It felt like we were breaking free of the past into something new.”

During the same 10-day period this year, Trump has tweeted about the Georgia Election, called out China for its relations with North Korea, held a rally in Iowa where he stated he wouldn’t hire poor people to be on his team, and continued to tweet about the Russia investigation. Trump also lied about how many bills he’s passed compared to previous presidents and the Senate is continuing to work on its new healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. What a difference 10 days truly makes.