Once out of office, former Presidents exit the global scene, preferring—usually—to retire someplace quiet to play golf, give speeches, champion a charity, or do arts and crafts. For some reason, though, President Barack Obama just can’t quite let being President go.
Tuesday night, Obama was spotted dining out with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, just hours after Trudeau flouted current President Donald Trump with a NATO plan that suggests the international community simply wait out the current President to make any changes.
Trudeau and Obama bro-ed out, sharing laughs, hugging, and ordering top notch cuisine at one of Montreal’s hottest restaurants, Liverpool House. The two reportedly noshed on the restaurant’s famous oysters, steak and lobster spaghetti, topped off by strawberry shortcake—how adorable.
Barack’s intimate dinner with Justin isn’t the former President’s first suspiciously timed foreign meeting, though. Since Trump has been in office, Obama’s been quietly following the current President’s schedule—taking meetings, meeting with foreign leaders, and giving policy speeches, often in the same city (or closely following) President Trump, like a weird, shadowy figure.
Obama timed his trip to Europe to coincide with Trump’s first official state visit, which included a stop in Italy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, as Trump was hanging with the Pope, Obama was meeting with Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Just days before Trump was due at a NATO summit. Obama was palling around with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (who ended up being Trump’s major foil on international affairs), and giving a speech to thousands of onlookers in Berlin.
The two stops seemed expressly timed to highlight the differences between the two leaders. The New York Times even crowed that “one received a warm welcome”—Obama—and “one did not.” Obama hasn’t expressly mentioned Trump, but the implications are there that he’s trying to remind foreign friends that he’s given way to a less friendly leader.
Of course, his jaunt to Europe could be forgiven—he was there, partly, on vacation—but the Canadian trip seems egregious.
Just as Trump is getting serious on NATO and NAFTA, drawing ire from America’s northern neighbor, Obama shows up to demonstrate exactly where he stands on Trudeau: right next to him, holding hands, eating seafood.