An aide of former President Barack Obama say he’s beginning a “delicate dance” as he reemerges on the national political scene this fall. He wants to play an active role in helping the Democratic party rebuild, but without becoming the face of the party—or becoming a lightning rod for Donald Trump.
Insiders expect he’ll focus on fundraising. In recent months, Obama has played a larger behind the scenes role than was publicly known, according to The Hill. He has, for example, done fundraising for the Democratic National Committee and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee since leaving office.
The Hill reported in July that he met with DNC Chairman Tom Perez as well as lawmakers at his office to give his guidance on a number of issues.
But Obama doesn’t want to inflame Trump’s obsession with him even more. He isn’t interested in pulling focus from the Democratic party and its attempt to refocus its message and move forward.
Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, said:
He has to be careful. At a moment when President Trump’s approval is falling so fast—including with his base—there is a risk for Obama taking center stage and triggering the energy that many Republicans currently lack.
And Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, added:
He would be the target against which Trump would direct his fury. From Trump’s perspective nothing better could happen.
Since leaving office, Obama’s approval rating remains incredibly high at 63%, according to a Gallup survey conducted in June, while Trump’s job approval numbers are tumbling, to just under 37%.
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