Former President Barack Obama is planning to return to the national political scene beginning in the fall of 2017, The Hill reports, but Democrats say he plans to do so with caution.
Obama and his staff at this moment are determining how he can join in on the national political conversation in a kind of “delicate dance,” as one top aide reports—not as the loudest voice in his party, but working behind the scenes, according to The Daily Caller.
“He has to be careful,” Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, said to The Hill. “At a moment when President Trump’s approval is falling so fast—including with his base—there is a risk for Obama taking center stage and triggering the energy that many Republicans currently lack.”
Aides closest to Obama report that he likely will work behind the scenes, possibly spearheading fundraising efforts, as opposed to working as a front man. The Washington Post reported last June that Obama plans to stump for Democratic candidate Ralph Northam in his bid to be Virginia’s next governor.
The Hill reports that Obama does not want to become “a foil” for President Trump and the Republican leadership, as one of his top aides said, even has he has criticized Trump for doing “nothing” on various political issues, such Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Obama has also been critical of Trump on a myriad of policies, from how he has handled healthcare, to Cuba and North Korea, and for never coming to a Boy Scout jamboree. Until now, Obama has worked to keep a low profile and remain silent. But very soon that could change.
Most former presidents remove themselves from the national spotlight following their tenure in office, involving themselves in charity work or guest speaker engagements. But Obama’s young age, and the extensive political base that he’s helped build, are possibly influencing his bid to continue working for the Democratic party for years to come.
“He would be the target against which Trump would direct his fury” said Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. “From Trump’s perspective, nothing better could happen.”
Franklin Graham wrote a heartfelt letter to President Obama when he was in office that asked him to reexamine his policies. What do you think? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.