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Photo: Pool via Getty Images

"The most popular American, whose legacy is the primary target of Donald Trump, has, for now, virtually disappeared from public life," New York Magazine's Gabe Debenedetti writes.

The big picture: "Obama ... has mostly opted out of liberal America’s collective Trump-outrage cycle. Though he reads the Times and other newspapers, he doesn’t [obsess over] daily Trump developments ... He is upset by the administration’s actions, and he’s confided to friends that what worries him most is the international order, the standing of the office of the presidency, the erosion of democratic norms."

  • "Still, in conversations with political allies, Obama insists that today’s domestic mess is a blip on the long arc of history and argues that his own work must be focused on progress over time — specifically on empowering a new generation of leaders."
  • "He says his legacy is not what concerns him. ('Michelle and I are fine,' he tells those who ask about it.)"
  • "[I]n private conversations, Obama rarely mentions Trump at all. Those who’ve visited the office he’s leased from the World Wildlife Fund in Washington’s West End say he’s eager to talk for hours about the world’s ills."
  • "One friend of Obama’s recalled that after a 45-minute meeting that avoided the subject of Trump entirely, the pair ducked into an aide’s office and saw on television that the president was claiming to have been absolved in the Russia inquiry. Obama’s eyes flicked toward the chyron and his face took on a decidedly bemused aspect for a beat before he turned back to their conversation as if nothing had happened."

Keep reading.

Go deeper

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

The deplatforming fight shifts to the courts

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Capitol riot and tech firms' sweeping attempt in its wake to dislodge the online far right are kicking up efforts to have the courts settle knotty questions about online speech and power.

Why it matters: Legal battles could force the people angry at Big Tech to bring more rigor to arguments that have often devolved into messy sideshows.