Speculation is swirling about former President Barack Obama‘s recent “secret meeting” with tech executives on Sunday in California’s “Silicon Valley,” a large swath of area south of San Francisco where the big innovations (and decisions) in technology are born.
First, Obama flew to Nebraska for a 2 1/2 hour meeting with business magnate Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” at Buffett’s private club, according to The U.K. Daily Mail. Then he flew to Moffett Field, a 1,000-acre facility formerly operated by the U.S. government and, as of 2015, operated by — wait for it — Google.
In contrast to his many high-profile public appearances in New York, this trip was as low-key as could be. Obama was whisked away to the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, where security was reportedly at unprecedented levels, according to NBC.
The trip was not listed on Obama’s public schedule, and details of the meeting were kept secret.
Although Obama has been open about his unusual decision to continue in public life in Washington after his term concluded in January, it’s still unclear how he intends to influence government. For those who look, there is sure an interesting trail of breadcrumbs.
First, there is the decision to stay in Washington itself. Former presidents generally retire to their hometowns. Given Obama’s spectacular failure to rein in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the violence that now rules that city, it’s no small wonder that the Windy City is not calling the Obamas back home.
Second, former senior adviser Valerie Jarrett just moved in with the Obamas in Washington. It is widely speculated that Jarrett, Obama’s supreme confidant and policy adviser, will work in Obama’s anti-President Donald Trump “nerve center,” according to The U.K. Daily Mail.
Jarrett previously lived in the White House and dined and vacationed with the Obamas, so their version of “Three’s Company” should feel familiar.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder tipped Obama’s hand at the end of February in announcing his plan to influence politics in a big way by saying, “It’s coming. He’s coming. And he’s ready to roll,” according to Politico.
Obama’s ties to Silicon Valley are broad and deep. Considered tech-savvy, he often personally reached out to tech companies during his administration to discuss digital entrepreneurship and security. He also employed former Google and Twitter executives.
Generally, former presidents stay out of their successors’ business. It’s good for the country to unify behind the elected leader, and understandably bad for the country for a man no longer in the Oval Office to keep stirring a pot filled with the resentment and bitterness of loss and disappointment.
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