In New York Magazine’s June 25–July 8, 2018, issue, national correspondent Gabriel Debenedetti looks for answers to one of the most pervasive questions of the past two years: “Where is Obama?” Debenedetti provides a look into Barack Obama’s postpresidential life, why he’s decided to not be a counterweight to Donald Trump, and what he’s going to do next.
“It sometimes feels like Barack Obama, for one, has escaped. Earlier this year, amid yet another round of outraged ‘What would Republicans be saying had Obama done this?!’ commentary about the current president, I started wondering about what the former president thinks about it all, and what he’s really been up to behind the scenes,” says Debenedetti on what prompted him to write the story. “Minute-to-minute political coverage, driven by Trump, has largely ignored his predecessor. Understandably. But surely, I thought, Obama’s not just kicking back, as some of his louder critics on the left would have us believe. So that’s what I set out to uncover: What, exactly, is Barack Obama doing these days, both personally and for the nation? What’s his vision for his post–White House life and career? And, perhaps just as importantly, what’s his day-to-day reasoning for stepping away from the spotlight?”