The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Obama to make first post-presidency public appearance in Chicago next week

President Barack Obama gestures after delivering remarks at an event for the Ohio Democratic Party and Gov. Ted Strickland in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Placeholder while article actions load

Former president Barack Obama will make his first public appearance since leaving office, breaking his post-presidency silence on Monday in Chicago just days before his successor marks his 100th day in office.

Obama is scheduled to participate in an event with young adults at the University of Chicago focused on community organizing and civic engagement, his office said Friday.

The event is part of Obama's goals to "encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities around the country and the world,” his office said in a statement.

It will mark the first in a series of public events for Obama, including stops next month in Boston to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and in Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Obama has generally refrained from speaking out since he left the White House in January. In his final days in office, he expressed appreciation that his predecessor, George W. Bush, did not publicly second-guess him and refrained from playing an active political role.

Aides said Obama's public appearance next week is not intended to boost his activism as a leader of the Democratic resistance to President Trump, who angered Obama supporters when he accused his predecessor of ordering a wiretap on Trump Tower during last year's election campaign. Trump has offered no evidence to back up the claim, and U.S. intelligence agencies and congressional investigators have said they have found none.

Obama has issued a statement objecting to Trump's efforts to bar people from several majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, saying through a spokesman that he "fundamentally disagrees" with the ban. Two executive orders imposing such bans have been blocked by a federal judges. Obama also defended the Affordable Care Act last month when the Trump White House and House Republicans attempted, unsuccessfully, to craft a bill to overturn the law.

And Obama spoke by phone this week with French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, although Obama did not make an endorsement in the race.

Since leaving office, Obama has focused on building his foundation and beginning his memoir, along with taking some vacation time.