On Monday, Barack Obama will begin his return to politics with a vengeance.
Obama’s speaking schedule will start with a town hall-style meeting with students at the University of Chicago before he flies to Boston to receive the Profile in Courage Award given annually by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. The New York Times reports that will be followed by a trip to Italy for a speech at the Global Food Innovation Summit about the effect of climate change on food sources and an appearance at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Yet the Times states that sources close to Obama insist he will avoid criticizing President Trump on the issues. That is leaving some Democratic Party activists upset; Sarah Kovner, who raised more than $1 million for Obama’s campaigns, told the Times, “Why are we not hearing from him? We’ve got to hear from him. Democrats are desperate. Everything that Trump is doing really requires a response.”
But John Morgan, another longtime donor, offered, “Everyone is anxious … You have got to pick your battles. 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.”
Louis Frillman, a board member of Organizing for Action, added, “I’m not going to give him public advice. He’ll know how to deal with things in due course.”
Obama’s aides have intimated that Obama is avoiding slamming President Trump because they feel that would give Trump an opening to rip Obama back and thus energize Trump’s supporters.
Instead, Obama plans to address general themes, such as is civic engagement, global warming, diplomacy, and civil rights. Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis opined, “Trump becomes a distraction from what he wants to do.”
George W. Bush eschewed criticizing Obama, as he heartily disliked former President Jimmy Carter ripping into George H. W. Bush. James Glassman, the founding director of the George W. Bush Institute, said, “I would try to get him to do things like talk about immigration policy and say the things he said as president. He would absolutely not do it.”