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"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."