How every leader handles the defining moment speaks as much about their way of thinking as they do about their foreign policy. Before, during and after the raids that brought down two highly sought after terrorists, Obama and Trump took different approaches and were met with different reactions from the American public.
Both, however, acknowledged the burden that the moments of their inheritance carried. They both wanted to see this happen.
"Like you're watching a movie," Trump recalled Sunday after reporting the death of the ISIS leader in graphic detail.
"We were essentially watching what was really going on," Obama told CNN in 2016, five years after the Navy SEALs pulled the lead on 9/1
It's easy to understand the impulse. from his presidency, the raids carried the possibility of revenge and the risk of devastating failure, ahead of Jimmy Carter's legacy, whose mismanagement of a high-stakes foreign policy issue – the Iran hostage crisis – could cost him a second term.
 Photos of the two capture the leaders on the edge. A stone-clad Trump official in a suit and tie sits at the helm of a long table in the Situation Hall, surrounded by similar tomb advisers, some in military uniform, as the attack unfolds on large screens. A literal and symbolic central figure, Trump projects a sense of authority that he has often yearned for as commander-in-chief.
The stiff posture and the imposition of the presidential seal contrast with Obama's photo, in a polo shirt and wind, leaning forward as his team huddled around laptops when word came from Abbottabad that Geronimo, the code name given to Bin Laden – was killed. Obama, slightly away from his center with a chair pushed in a corner, is not the natural focus point of the eye.
The photos are from different rooms: Trump was made in the John F. Kennedy Conference Room, the iconic command post being played in movies and on television, where presidents are briefed on high-ranking missions.
Obama was informed in leading the bin Laden attack from the same position where Trump was shown to oversee the mission in Baghdad. He was sitting there as Admiral William McRaven, the commander of the Joint Special Operations, told the mission from a post in Afghanistan.
But later, when word came, he had a better chance of being lowered into the hallway, he and his team were deactivated to the smaller conference room, where a video broadcast of the general's laptop was being played. It was there that the table – crowded with others, including the hand of Hillary Clinton's mouth – was broken.
If both presidents wanted to see the operations they personally ordered that took down the most desirable terrorists of their era, there was little else to do with how they handled the high-wire decision and the subsequent praise of mission successes.
When he took office, Obama made it clear to his first CIA Director, Leon Paneta, that finding bin Laden was a priority. Nine months before the attack, Obama was first informed of the possibility of the US deploying a terrorist in a compound in Pakistan. But without certainty, Obama was left with a choice.
“I was inclined to take the picture early in the discussions. But you keep the decision until you have to. And in the end, what I really appreciated was the extent to which we had an honest debate, "Obama told CNN in 2016." In this way, it is emblematic of presidential decisions. You always work with probabilities. "
Obama has spent at least part of running a bin Laden mission to fine-tune the White House correspondent's dinner jokes – including frogs targeting Trump, whose ruthless and racist persecution of Obama's birth certificate this week
While Obama in a tuxedo was framing Trump's troubled decision-maker on the reality show – "Get fired Gary Bussay!" – his team was making final preparations for the attack, which would
Meanwhile, Trump has begun discussions on possible operations to bring Baghdad out in the last few weeks, as surveillance showed an ISIS leader at a compound near Idlib, Syria, presenting options for a raid last week.
On the day of the attack, he woke up at Camp David after hosting an anniversary party for his daughter and son-in-law, playing golf at his Virginia course with Senator Lindsey Graham and Commissioner of Higher Baseball a league and returned to the White House around 4.30pm ET. The group gathered in the Situation Hall 30 minutes later.
Unlike Obama – who returned to the White House residence to play cards while the Navy SEAL team flew from Afghanistan to Pakistan, returned only when they were on the ground – Trump
asked on Sunday to describe the difficult decisions he had to make along the way, Trump said, "Well, just death."
"I'm sending a large number of brilliant fighters – these are the greatest fighters in the world," he said.
Saturday night – after US commandos returned safely from the mission to an as yet unidentified and base – Trump offered a cryptic tweet that "Just a lot has happened!" Shortly after, the White House said there would be a "major announcement" the next morning.
"This should have told you guys that you have something big this morning, so you won't be out playing golf or tennis or otherwise unattractive, "Trump said later.
There was a debate among his National Security Advisers about whether it was too early to victory is claimed, given the lack of iron evidence that Baghdadi died in Miss tion. Trump, however, was itching to announce the news. And soon media reports on the mission to Syria and its purpose appeared.
In the end, Trump was convinced by advisers that announcing Baghdadi's death at 9 a.m. On Sunday – early in weekly political broadcasts – would draw more attention. It also gave US officials more time to check the target.
Obama's aides also discussed whether to announce the attack on Bin Laden in the evening when it happened or the next morning. Almost everyone stood up for the wait – including Obama, who wanted further scrutiny, killing bin Laden.
After MacRaven told him one of the mission stamps, the same size as Bin Laden, lay next to his body to confirm his height, Obama asked for more proof: he told him to get a tape measure.
News reports of a US-based helicopter crash in Pakistan, whose government has called on the White House to announce the news, prompted Obama to deliver a nine-minute speech announcing a "targeted operation" in Pakistan, but suggested few details.
"Today's achievement is testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people." he said from the White House Cross Hall, the long red carpet stretching out behind him. Cheerful crowds gathered outside the White House.
Trump's remarks were of similar length but of a different tone. Describing Baghdadi as a "sick and corrupt man" who died "running and crying," Trump ended his prepared section roughly.
"He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place. God bless America. Thank you," he said before asking questions for more than 40 minutes in the diplomatic reception room. The White House. Outside the White House there were no cheering crowds; when Trump attends Game 5 of the World Series tonight, he is blown away.
Among the phone calls Obama made after Bin Laden's successful assault was his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was eating a souffle with his wife in Dallas when word came that Obama was trying to reach him.
"Good call," Bush told his successor, after hearing details of the mission that pulled the terrorist, he would spend most of his presidency pursuing.
According to associates, Trump did not make such a call. The White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said he was "unfamiliar" with any communication about Baghdadi's mission between Trump and Obama. An Obama spokesman did not comment.
Trump offered some reconciliation during remarks in Obama's hometown on Monday.
"He should have been killed years ago," he said of Baghdad during a speech to police chiefs in Chicago. "Another President Should Have Made It."