Former President Barack Obama is still jet setting around the globe to meet with foreign leaders, even though he no longer resides at the White House. Instead, he’s scheduling the meetings as part of his foundation.
News reports pointed out Tuesday that some of Obama’s latest trips appear to mirror trips taken by President Donald Trump and his administration in recent weeks. Obama’s latest itinerary involves meetings with leaders in India, China, and France just weeks after Trump met with the same leaders.
For example, Obama plans to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and “hundreds of young Indian leaders from across the country” during a “town hall” meeting Friday in New Delhi, according to an announcement on the Obama Foundation website. Obama reportedly wants to address ways his foundation can support emerging young leaders in India.
“President Obama believes that countries are strongest when we empower our young people — because ultimately, they’re the ones who will shape our future,” Bernadette Meehan, executive director of international programs at the foundation, told The Times of India.
Obama is following right behind Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is in India until Thursday where she has led the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and met with Modi.
Obama spoke Tuesday at a Shanghai trade summit, according to The Washington Post. An education summit and meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping are also part of Obama’s schedule.
Trump met with Xi just a couple of weeks ago. Published reports offered no speculation on what the closely timed trips might mean.
Are Trump and Obama pushing opposing priorities abroad?
Obama is a fan of international climate agreements while Trump is not. Trump also discounts the view that global economy should be the first priority. He has repeatedly said the needs of America must come first.
Obama’s website pointed to a historically close partnership with Xi on issues of climate change and the global economy. The two announced a climate agreement in November 2014, ahead of the Paris climate agreement signed by almost all nations, the Post reported. But when Trump moved to withdraw from the agreement, he drew public criticism from Obama.
On Friday and Saturday, Obama is scheduled to speak at a summit and at private meetings in Paris, reports state.