Barack Obama may leave the White House in January, but he won’t be going very far. Thanks to the need to have their youngest daughter finish her education at her prestigious private school, the Obamas will not take the traditional route of leaving Washington DC at the end of Obama’s presidency. CBS asked Valerie Jarrett, “How will that work?” Will Obama use his presence to weigh in on the next administration’s actions and policies, and will his very presence act as a media magnet for that kind of commentary?
Not to worry, Jarrett insists on the segment aired on CBS’ This Morning. Obama learned the value of silence from George W. Bush and “several members of his team.” Trust us!
“President Obama will be the former president, and he will be a citizen just like everybody else, and he will behave accordingly, of that I’m sure,” Jarrett said. …
“One of the things I would compliment President Bush for — and not just President Bush, but several members of his team as well, who have said to me, ‘We had our eight years and now we owe you silence,’ ” Jarrett said.
“And I think that’s the way the president will behave in terms of Washington. But does that mean that he has a platform on which he can do great good around our country and around the world? Sure. But he will leave being the president to the new president.”
Well, maybe. That seems a safer bet if Hillary Clinton succeeds Obama than if Donald Trump wins the election in November, and not just because of Obama’s temperament. In a Hillary presidency, the media might be much less tempted to run to Obama for comment on her actions — in large part because there won’t be much difference between the two on policy anyway.
In a Trump presidency, it’s easy to foresee the media running to Obama every time a change in direction occurs. That would be especially true when Trump denigrates Obama and blames him for any failures that occur — a tradition Obama began and maintained until just recently with Bush. And it’s difficult to imagine that Obama’s smartest-man-in-the-room personal would sit quietly for the years in which Sasha has left at Sidwell Friends if sought out.
Besides, Obama’s White House fundraising for his foundation hardly gives the look of a soon-to-be former president looking to keep a low profile, does it?