Former President Barack Obama is set to make his first public appearance since the end of his term in office.
Since his retirement from the White House, Obama has spent his time vacationing in Palm Springs, the Caribbean, and French Polynesia, though he plans to bring his post-presidency escapades to an end on April 24th when he will speak at the University of Chicago in an address about “community organizing and civic engagement,” according to The Hill.
“This event is part of President Obama’s post-presidency goal to encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities around the country and the world,” read a statement by the office of the former president.
Obama will reportedly use his upcoming speaking engagement to address topics on civic engagement, diplomacy, civil rights, and nurturing the next generation of world leaders, according to The New York Times.
Sources acquainted with Obama’s agenda say that the former POTUS will not use his upcoming speaking engagement as a platform to contest incumbent president Donald Trump’s policies, much to the disappointment of some Democrats.
“Why are we not hearing from him?” asked Sarah Kovner, a Democrat activist and Obama campaign donor. “We’ve got to hear from him.”
“Democrats are desperate.”
“Everything that Trump is doing really requires a response,” continued Kovner.
Other supporters favor Obama staying out of political battles for the time being, citing future challenges for Democrats.
“You have got to pick your battles,” said John Morgan, an attorney and one of Obama’s donors.
“Timing is everything. If you come out 100 days after the election throwing haymakers, I think your credibility wanes. He’s better to save himself for the fall of 2018 and speak from a higher perch.”
Obama’s silence on his replacement’s political decisions is not without precedent. Former President George W. Bush made the same maneuver after his retirement from POTUS, maintaining a low profile and refusing to criticize Obama during his first days in office.
“People around him wanted him to do it,” commented James Glassman, a director of the George W. Bush Institute, about the insistence by many aides that Bush launch an offensive against the then-newly-elected President Obama.
“People would come to me and say, ‘Can’t you get the president to defend No Child Left Behind?’ His legacy was about to be wiped off the face of the earth. The answer was no. That’s not the way he saw his post-presidency.”
Sources: The Hill, The New York Times/Photo Credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr