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.
Our President is having a cynical morning. So here's a story of the 10 most hopeful days I ever saw in politics, capped off 2 yrs ago today.— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) June 26, 2017
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."
So 44 said he wanted to talk about the concept of unearned grace. Not something I would have thought of. And we got to work.— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) June 26, 2017
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.
"That’s when America soars: when we look out for one another. When we take care of each other. When we root for one another’s success."— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) June 26, 2017
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.
"And then sometimes, there are days like this -- when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt."— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) June 26, 2017
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."
But on the helicopter that morning, he said "You know, if it feels right, I might sing it."— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) June 26, 2017
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."
And here's the thing: that was only two years ago. The levers of power may have changed, but America is still big, generous, and optimistic.— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) June 26, 2017
"People of goodwill will...debate the merits of various policies, as our democracy requires. This is a big, raucous place, America."— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) June 26, 2017
I'll always remember how that week felt. To see so many people engaged in the hard work of citizenship right now reminds me of it every day.— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) June 26, 2017
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.