On this Presidents Day, it’s reported that former President Barack Obama is quietly counseling Democrats who hope to replace Donald Trump in the White House in January of 2021. But he’s not about to endorse any of them.
The New York Times reports that Obama “has all but officially taken a vow of neutrality,” preferring “to let the primary unfold as a contest of ideas.” Nor does former First Lady Michelle Obama plan to endorse anyone.
Obama is said to have held private talks with announced candidates as well as “prominent figures who remain undecided on the race.”
They include Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend IN; and possible candidates like his own former vice president Joe Biden and former attorney general Eric Holder, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke of Texas, and others.
The Times says Obama “continues to express frustration that he did not anticipate Mr. Trump’s victory.”
But it quotes senior Obama adviser Eric Schultz as saying the former president is encouraged by the “diverse, experienced and principled” field of Democrats in or potentially in the race.
At the same time, Obama “has indicated to candidates that he worries about the possibility of a damaging primary fight, and has urged them to avoid attacking each other in bitterly personal terms” that could help Trump.