In their efforts to make the Democratic Party relevant in American politics again after a series of disappointing House special election losses, former President Barack Obama has been holding closed-door strategy meetings with several House and Senate lawmakers.
In one example, Obama met in person with freshman Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), according to a report in The Hill.
He has also been in close contact with Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez in the past several months, reportedly telling him in one conversation, “Hey man, it’s only the future of the world in your hands.” One DNC staffer called the discussions “regular check-ins.”
Obama’s former political adviser David Simas, now CEO of the Obama Foundation, has also been talking to DNC officials.
Most of the discussions are kept under wraps as Obama tries to keep a relatively low profile since leaving the White House. “He doesn’t want the focus to be on him,” said one source close to the former president. “He doesn’t want to be out in front.” But he’s still obviously involved as Democrats lose confidence in their leadership, especially House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).
Still reeling from the crushing defeat of the 2016 election and other political losses since then, Democrats have been facing an identity crisis. It’s been reported that Obama is functioning as “an available resource” while the party seeks new leadership.
An expert fundraiser, Obama will start stumping for Democratic candidates such as Ralph Northam, who is running for governor of Virginia this fall. Northam reportedly asked Obama to get involved.
Obama also still manages to inject his opinion regarding Trump’s moves to oust the former president’s policies, especially ObamaCare. “Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm,” he said in a statement. “And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”
Choosing to stay in Washington, D.C., Obama still meets with world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
As the New York Times reported, “one might be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Obama was trolling President Trump.”
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