After months of silence, the former first family has returned to the limelight to host an event that is sure to make waves in Washington.
On January 20, 2017, Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure as President of the United States came to an end.
Before stepping out of the White House doors, the former president placed a heartfelt letter to the new commander-in-chief in the top drawer of the Resolute desk. In it, he congratulated President Trump on a successful run, offering words of wisdom to the country’s new executive leader.
“This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don’t know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful,” Obama wrote. “Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years.”
The former president stressed three key goals he hoped Trump would uphold: sustaining international order, upholding democratic institutions and traditions, and building ladders of success for all Americans.
“Finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family,” Obama wrote in conclusion. “They’ll get you through the inevitable rough patches.”
Instead, Trump has proven himself antithetical to Obama’s legacy. The administration’s elimination of DACA, escalation of foreign tension, and undemocratic attempts to push unpopular healthcare legislation through Congress counteract the very goals Obama wholeheartedly vouched for.
In recent months, the former president has released a series of written statements concerning the Trump administration’s policy decisions.
“Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally,” Obama said in response to the DACA phaseout. “It’s a political decision and a moral question.”
Still, the Obama family have mostly kept their faces out of the media — until this September, anyway. In a promotional video, the Obama Foundation welcomed civic leaders to a two-day summit to empower civic leaders to institute change in their communities.
What’s Happening Now:
The summit’s announcement was first hinted during a parting video from Michelle and Barack Obama this January.
“The Obama Foundation will be a living, working startup for citizenship — an ongoing project for us to shape, together, what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century,” the video description reads. “We are based on the South Side of Chicago and will have projects all over the city, the country, and the world.”
Chicago is the future site of Obama’s presidential center, which will host the summit on October 31 and November 1. Over 7,000 prospective attendees applied to attend the summit within 24 hours of the online application’s launch, according to CNBC Make It.
In his newest video, the former president elaborated on the summit’s mission and goals.
“One of the things you told us is how much you want to hear from one another,” Obama said. “From folks who aren’t like you, who live in different places, and are tackling unique challenges of their own.”
Obama stressed the necessity of engaging in hands-on work to strengthen community relations and shed light on important issues.
“What makes me so hopeful — so optimistic — is that so many of you have shown up, dived in, and embraced the kind of active citizenship that makes our democracy work,” Obama said.
Under the Trump administration, our country is divided. Many Americans hold little faith in the current Congress, and even less in the current president.
Despite the state of the nation, Obama offered one thought-provoking word of advice we all ought to hold dear: trust in ourselves.
“When I left office in January, I asked of you the same thing I asked of you way back in 2008,” Obama said. “Believe not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.”