Why does Trump attract so much dislike

The spoiler right away: Sensations, even revelations, do not contain Barack Obama's memories of his presidency. Except for confessions like the fact that he liked to stuff chewing gum paper into the cracks in the upholstered suite in the Oval Office. Or that when the Secret Service agents whispered "Renegade on the way to secondary hold" into the mini microphones on their wrists, it was simply the code that he had to go to the bathroom.

Anyone who expected more on the first 1000 pages of Obama's memoir (a second volume is to follow) must be disappointed. But: Anyone who hoped otherwise would have had to rely on a miraculous personality change in a man who was always in control. However, four years after leaving the White House, Obama is surprisingly frank in one respect - when it comes to his encounters with global leaders.

"The better I got to know Angela Merkel, the more likeable she became to me"

The Chancellor in particular is doing well. Which is almost an understatement. "The better I got to know Angela Merkel, the more sympathetic she became," writes Obama and starts with words of praise that he would otherwise not find for any foreign interlocutor: "I found her reliable, honest, intellectually precise and on one natural kind friendly. " He likes "her stoic manner" and "her sober, analytical awareness" suits his approach to political problems.

He briefly touches on her initially reserved attitude towards him, which Obama obviously did not miss. "I didn't hold it against her," he states with a slightly patronizing undertone and alludes to his appearance in the summer of 2008 in front of 200,000 cheering people at the Berlin Victory Column. "I thought that an aversion to possible demagoguery was probably a healthy attitude for a German head of government." A professorial Obama-like explanation.

But he was evidently watching her closely. The Chancellor is known to be unable to completely banish her feelings and thoughts from her facial expressions. This did not escape Obama: "Merkel's eyes were big and bright blue, and they could alternately accept expressions of frustration, amusement and hints of concern." Elsewhere, when he unsuccessfully urged the Chancellor to give Greece major debt relief during the euro crisis, he noted her disapproving reaction: "Yes, Barack, I think that might not be the best approach for us," she used to say and frowned a little, as if I had suggested something slightly tasteless. "

The British's looseness was merely artificial, and the French were only interested in laurels

He tends to brush up against other statesmen in passing - and they don't get off so well. David Cameron, then British Prime Minister, is portrayed as not unsympathetic ("I liked him"), but as a man without depth, "who had never really come into contact with the hardships of life". His jovial shirt sleeves appear superimposed on the US President, who is not too attached to etiquette: "At every international summit, the first thing he did is take off his jacket and loosen his tie."

Or Nicolas Sarkozy, who always appeared hashish: "Quite the epitome of emotional outbursts and exaggerated rhetoric." France's president at the time wanted to be "barely concealed" and always wanted to be the center of attention in order to "reap the laurels for everything that was worth reaping laurels for".

Obama deals more closely with Vladimir Putin - and does not hide his deep dislike for the future Russian president, who initially served as prime minister but was always the puller in Moscow. When they first meet in Moscow, he visits him at his country estate, a man with the "stature of a wrestler" and "bright, watchful eyes". After two hours of conversation, Obama is certain that Putin is inspired by the feeling that Russia has been treated unfairly by history and that he wants to correct that - by any means. Putin, he tells an adviser, reminds him of the legendary corrupt party bosses in the USA around 1900: "Tough, shrewd and cold-blooded types who see patronage, bribery, extortion, fraud and occasional violence as legitimate methods."

Obama is also not holding back judgments about American politicians, two of which are likely to be particularly interesting: his relationship with his then Vice-President Joe Biden and his assessment of the current US President Donald Trump. Unsurprisingly, he makes no secret of his aversion to the latter.

Obama didn't meet him personally before inviting Trump to join the White House as his elected successor in November 2016. Years before, however, he had not had a good opinion of him, and he admits that he had made a mistake, like many democratic party friends: "In any case, it was difficult for me to take him too seriously." And then he reproduces how other business bosses in New York, where Trump comes from, described the man at the time: "insubstantial" and "dubious".

A black man in the White House - that was "as if my opponents believed that the natural order of things was dissolving."

But shortly after Obama's election, Trump had launched a campaign that he had clearly underestimated, but which revealed how deeply divided US society was even then. It was about the so-called Birther-Controversy - the claim that Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore not entitled to be president at all. Obama actually ended up having to present his birth certificate from the Honolulu registry office to end the debate. Which didn't stop Trump from repeating the false claims later.

Obama's analysis is likely to cause a sensation in the US because he openly branded Trump's campaign as what it always was: a racist conspiracy theory: "It was as if my presence in the White House had awakened a deeply rooted fear, as if my opponents believed the natural order of things dissolves. "

The man, however, whom Obama regards with the kindest words - at least as far as the members of his government team are concerned - is his former Vice Biden. Obama finished the manuscript in the summer, so he could only hope but not know that Biden would be his successor.

He describes his vice-president at the time, the future president Joe Biden, as "decent, honest and loyal"

Characteristic of their relationship, at least in the early days of his presidency, is likely to be an episode in the fall of 2009, when the chiefs of the US armed forces urged Obama in the situation area for a significant increase in troops in Afghanistan. Then Biden adjusts the much younger president on the way to the Oval Office: "Listen to me, boss, he said, maybe I've been in this city too long, but I know one thing, namely when these generals try to find a new president to put on a leash. "

Obama describes his vice as a "person with a heart", whom he selected not least because of his foreign policy experience and excellent connections in Congress: "What was decisive, however, was what my gut feeling told me - that Joe was decent, honest and loyal."