Is Obama Shadow-Presidenting on Social Media?

Illustration for article titled Is Obama Shadow-Presidenting on Social Media?
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

It’s almost impossible for a superhero to retire. I mean what would that even look like? Would Spider-Man go fishing and become bored knowing that he could shoot his web into the water and grab a whole school of fish?


So, yes, former President Obama has officially left the White House, and yes, before the coronavirus (B.C.) Obama was wearing a slick bomber and slimmer jeans and living his best life. But since the virus has hit American land and the number of those infected continues to grow exponentially, this nation’s only hope not named President Andrew Cuomo—seriously, have you seen his press briefings? He sounds more presidential than the actual president—is Barack Obama, who has been using his social media platforms to push out pertinent and important factual information.

“Here’s a useful summary of the current best thinking among public health experts on how we need to approach the fight against COVID-19 in the coming weeks,” Obama wrote in a recent post that was retweeted roughly 20,000 times, NBC News reports.

Before the global pandemic, Obama used social media the way that most older people do; he posted photos of his happy family; he didn’t realize that everyone could see when he started following pornstar Sara Jay, and most recently, his lovely wife, former First Lady Michelle Obama, used it to log into DJ D-Nice’s #ClubQuarantine set.

But our #ForeverPOTUS had been light on trolling the Russian inheritor of the Oval Office even when said inheritor has been a lying racist who endangers the public with his lies and racism.

But, NBC News notes that Obama “is now routinely posting messages to Twitter — and cross-posting some to his Facebook following — promoting safety measures, explaining the reasoning behind strong new restrictions to combat the virus, and sharing stories he finds inspiring of individuals and organizations that have taken action during the crisis.”

While Trump was using social media to rail against health officials that requested that people stay home, suggesting in the coming weeks he wants people out and about hopefully lifting the economy, Obama was on Twitter posting a New York Times story ‘detailing ‘harsh steps’ that may still need to be taken or expanded upon to stop the transmission of COVID-19.”


From NBC News:

Obama’s posts have generated plenty of engagement and have reached tens of millions. Last week, there were more than 120,000 retweets on his tweet linking to a Washington Post interactive that showed how the curve of infections can be flattened under various simulations. That story, as one Post reporter tweeted, became the publications’ most read article, topping even news of Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape in 2016.

“Watch this,” Obama said. “It shows why we should all do the right thing and stay home to the fullest extent possible. All of us can help slow the spread of the virus, protecting the elderly, the vulnerable, and each other.”

Over the past two weeks, the former president has posted to Twitter on the outbreak more than a dozen times, with posts ranging from thanking NBA players and executives for “setting a good example during a challenging time” to highlighting an explanation for why large gatherings and other events needed to be canceled.

A source close to the former president said Obama wants to be sharing “public health messages that people need to be seeing and hearing and understanding” at this time.

“First and foremost, his priority has been to push out important public health messages that he feels people need to learn and understand because this is a complicated issue and a lot of the science is counter-intuitive,” this person said. “So he wants to make sure people have access to good information.”


The source also noted that Obama “wants to help lift up people who are doing good work in this time of crisis, whether that is individuals or organizations or healthcare workers or just everyday Americans doing extraordinary work.” Obama believes “those are inspiring stories to share and hopefully will inspire others to follow suit,” NBC News reported.

While Obama has not criticized the current president’s mishandling of his entire time in office, I have. If Trump is white supremacy’s president, then much like the movement, Trump has been an embarrassment, at best. At worse, Trump’s idiocy in office is not only dangerous but has led to actual deaths.


“This crisis is unlike any in our lifetimes and it will take all of us to combat it,” Ben LaBolt, a former Obama spokesman, told NBC News in an email.

“President Obama has the ability to reach millions with critical information and things we all can do to contain the spread of the virus,” LaBolt added. “While he has left day to day politics to the next generation of leaders, it’s no surprise that he would leverage his following to encourage broad-based participation in the urgent response effort.”


This just continues to prove that it’s impossible for a superhero to relax when he knows the world is in need of his gifts. Only a villain, a man who paints his skin with rancid seal blood, would care more about the economy than the people he’s been elected (Russian elected, anyway) to govern.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.


When did Obama start teaching the Masterclass on how to savagely dunk on Trump without actual effort? What’s the title of it? How to Shade a Bitch Just By Being a Decent, Rational Human Being?