Politics

Obama Returns From Vacation For Public Appearance

| by Michael Doherty

Former President Barack Obama is expected to deliver his first public remarks after leaving office in a town-hall style gathering with students at the University of Chicago.

Obama will reportedly focus on "community organizing and civic engagement" during the event, scheduled for April 24. The event will mark the former president's return to public life after an extended vacation following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, CNN reports.

"The 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," said Obama's office in a press release about the event.

The discussion, which will be broadcast on television, will not be open to the general public, although students from other schools in the Chicago area have been invited to attend, according to the Independent.

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An adviser for the former president said he has recently been most interested in the Affordable Care Act, climate change and foreign policy.

"He's going to be more of an adviser behind the scenes and not necessarily be in the forefront right now," said an adviser. "At a given time, when it’s appropriate and necessary, he’ll be out there. But not right now."

A source said Obama is not planning to confront Trump directly during his upcoming appearance, although he will be upfront if asked about policy matters on which he and the current president do not agree.

Obama will reportedly be on stage with six students to have a dialogue, but will not take questions from the audience.

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The day before the event, the former president spoke at a roundtable discussion with young people from the Chicago Create Real Economic Destiny program. The program reportedly seeks to give at-risk youth connections and skills that can help them find jobs.

"President Obama listened to the young men's stories and shared some of the challenges that he faced growing up," said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Obama. "He expressed that he was optimistic about their potential to positively contribute to their communities and support their families because of the services provided in the program."

The Obamas have stayed away from the spotlight since Trump's inauguration, spending time in Palm Springs, California, the British Virgin Islands, and on film producer David Geffen's yacht.

Some Democrats have called for the former president to return to address Trump's policy decisions, according to The New York Times.

"Why are we not hearing from him?" asked Democratic activist Sarah Kovner. "We've got to hear from him."

"Democrats are desperate," said Kovner. "Everything that Trump is doing really requires a response."

Sources: CNN Wire via KTLA, Independent, The New York Times / Photo credit: Whoohoo120/Flickr

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