Barack Obama returned to Chicago yesterday. The former president’s visit is the first part of his return to public life. Tonight, Obama will make his first public speech since leaving the White House.
The University of Chicago is hosting the event, which will bring Obama together with students from multiple area colleges and universities for a “Conversation on Civic Engagement.” “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,” according to a press release from Obama’s office.
Obama is not expected to criticize Donald Trump, according to his advisers. Instead, he will advocate for his own administration’s policies, like the Affordable Care Act. In doing so, however, Obama may wind up indirectly criticizing Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace it. Sources said Obama has not had any communication with Trump since the White House changed hands, though the former president expects to be a “resource” if needed. They were quick to add that the lack of contact should not be seen as indicating “anything bad” about their relationship.
Tonight’s speech is not sponsored by Obama’s foundation, advisers said. Rather, the 44th president is acting as an individual and is working with the University of Chicago, they said.
Yesterday, Obama also met with members of CRED, Create Real Economic Destiny. The group was started by Obama’s former secretary of education, Arne Duncan, to work with young men considered “at-risk” by providing job training and employment opportunities. Obama had a round table with young men in the group to discuss their ideas for addressing crime and violence in Chicago and beyond. The meeting marked the former president’s return to his roots as a community organizer 30 years ago on the South Side of the city.
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