Advice for Trump's speechwriters: Quit

Former Obama speechwriter David Litt, one of the youngest speechwriters in history, joins "Salon Talks"

By Rachel Leah
September 23, 2017 12:30PM (UTC)
main article image

If David Litt, an Obama speechwriter and author of the new book “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years," could give one piece of advice to President Donald Trump's speechwriters, this would be it: "quit," he told Salon's Andrew O'Heir on "Salon Talks."

"I'm not saying that to be glib," he continued. "Trump's problem is not that he doesn't have the rhetorical gifts or if you wrote a better speech, he would be a good president. There's a line that you cross when you take that job."


Litt joined the Barack Obama campaign immediately out of college, and by 2011, he was one of the youngest speechwriters in history. Litt was Obama's source for all things comedy, and his writing was put to use both in speeches and in crafting jokes for the annual White House Correspondent's dinner. "Thanks, Obama" is as much a memoir of Litt's tenure in the White House as it is of Obama's legacy, one that he has no doubt will long outlive the chaotic presidency of Donald Trump.

"Maybe you could claim on January 20th of this year that you didn't know or that Trump was going to change," Litt said of the naïveté of Trump's speechwriters. "But certainly after Charlottesville, and certainly after some of the other things we're seeing, this is not about policy, it's about a basic sense of 'do we believe in a democracy?'"

Litt explained that Trump's ills go far beyond someone who is "morally questionable." "Trump is a moral monster, and it's reflected in his policies," he said. "So yeah, if you're writing speeches for him, go get a better job."


Watch our full "Salon Talks" conversation on Facebook.

Tune into Salon's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage," daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon and on Facebook.

Rachel Leah

MORE FROM Rachel Leah