FORMER US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle clearly aren’t missing the White House too much.
As Donald Trump comes to grips with the intimidating burdens of his new job, the Obamas have been holidaying with billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson.
Mr Branson has published a blog post with pictures and video of the former president kitesurfing off one of his private islands in the British Virgin Islands. The look on Mr Obama’s face reminds you of a kid who’s just tried chocolate for the first time.
Apparently Mr Obama, who is a native of Hawaii, had told Mr Branson his security detail banned him from surfing during his time in office.
“Just before he became president, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii,” Mr Branson wrote in his blog post.
“When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said, ‘This will be the last time you surf for eight years.’ For the next eight years he didn’t have the chance to surf, enjoy watersports or do many of the things he loved.”
Mr Branson said after spending a couple days learning to kitesurf, Mr Obama bested him in a water-sport challenge. He also said inviting the Obamas to his island was “a huge honour.”
Mr Obama spent his first days after leaving Washington holidaying in Palm Springs, California. So he’s having a nice time.
But while content to leave behind the daily grind of the presidency, Mr Obama has not left the public sphere. Before bequeathing the Oval Office to Mr Trump, Mr Obama warned he was willing to be a vocal retiree.
“As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do witht he specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I’ll examine it when it comes,” Mr Obama said.
Former US President Barack Obama kitesurfs during his stay on Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands. Picture: APSource:AP
Mr Obama is taking a somewhat unusual step by publicly commenting on the Trump administration’s policies. Former presidents typically give their successors quite a lot of breathing space - Mr Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, has remained virtually silent for the last eight years. And while Bill Clinton was active in both of his wife’s White House campaigns, he spent most of his immediate post-presidential years focusing on humanitarian issues.
Hopefully Mr Obama will be able to just focus on kitesurfing for now.