Barack Obama is back in the public eye, and true to form, he got his first public speaking event since leaving office going with a poignant joke. Since Donald Trump took over the helm, Obama and his famous first family have been globetrotting, avoiding politics (except for Malia Obama, who briefly protested the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Sundance Film Festival), and reportedly living and loving life.
Barack Obama back in public at the University of Chicago pic.twitter.com/TmDKh5RxoZ
— Tahman Bradley (@tahmanbradley) April 24, 2017
Now that he’s back in the public eye, back in Chicago, the city where formerly unheard-of Senator Obama got his political start, the former POTUS jokingly tried to get his bearings as he asked the audience at the University of Chicago what’s been going on in the last few weeks.
“So uh, what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?”
Barack Obama’s question was definitely tongue-in-cheek because he’d have to be living under a rock not to know every detail of the political turmoil America has faced since Inauguration Day. From his audience’s reaction and the chuckle Obama couldn’t seem to contain, Barack know’s exactly what’s been going on. Check it out.
Obama: "So, uh, what's been going on while I've been gone?" pic.twitter.com/p9f76nNF42
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) April 24, 2017
As The Hill reports, Barack Obama timed his re-emergence into the public eye with Donald Trump’s upcoming 100th day in office, a largely symbolic milestone that Trump touted on the campaign trail but now seems to think is less important that it appeared while he was stumping on the campaign trail. (FYI, Trump now calls 100 days a “ridiculous standard.”)
No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017
While Trump desperately tries to salvage the first 100 days of his presidency and turn his early legacy into something both memorable and meaningful, Barack Obama has taken his politics back to their roots. Before Monday’s public speaking event at the University of Chicago, Obama spent Sunday with a group of South Chicago’s young men and boys. The lucky bunch discussed their lives and struggles with Barack Obama while listening to life lessons and other stories and advice from the former president.
When Obama greeted the crowd at the University of Chicago to get first post-presidency public speaking event started on Monday, he hearkened back to his roots.
“It is wonderful to be home, it is wonderful to be at the University of Chicago, it is wonderful to be on the South Side of Chicago and it is wonderful to be with these young people here.”
Smooth jazz playing in the background as President Barack Obama ends his speech at the University of Chicago. He's a smooth operator. #44
— ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Patrece (@havewhatusay) April 24, 2017
— Toughie Costello (@Toughie8403) April 24, 2017
— GaysForTrump (@apoliticvoice) April 24, 2017
Worry less about what you want to be, worry more about what you want to do. – Barack Obama in Chicago
— Mike Williams (@drummike2012) April 24, 2017
@WSJ class grace humility and intellectual curiosity. A great man w integrity who was the leader of the free world for 8 yrs. for good reason.
— Susan Luxemberg (@SusanLuxemberg) April 24, 2017
As CNN reports, Barack Obama opted to jump back into the spotlight with his first post-office public speaking event at the University of Chicago specifically because he wanted to take the opportunity to speak with the youth of America directly. In the past, Obama has credited the nation’s young voters for his meteoric rise to the presidency in both 2004 and 2008.
Former President Obama breaks public silence to talk about civic engagement in Chicago. https://t.co/X7Em60BNqJ
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 24, 2017
Those in attendance included three hundred students from the University of Chicago as well as other local colleges and universities. Everybody in the audience of the Obama public speaking engagement was invited to attend the historic event.
While he got things started with a joke, Obama addressed numerous issues facing America’s youth and America in general during his widely-touted appearance. Check out everything he had to say to his captive (and clearly captivated) audience below.
While Barack Obama apparently timed his return to the spotlight to coincide with Trump’s 100th day (an event that will be marked with a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on April 29, reports Philly.com), it doesn’t appear that the 44th president will be foraying back into politics anytime soon. At least not directly.
Barack and Michelle Obama are currently penning their memoirs as part of a multi-million dollar deal with Penguin Random House. The pair has reportedly decided to remain residents of Washington D.C. until Sasha Obama graduates in 2019. In the meantime, Obama is scheduled to keep up his public appearances including receiving an award in Boston and meeting with Germany’s Angela Merkel in May.
[Featured Image by Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Images]