Former President Barack Obama has secretly held meetings with at least nine possible 2020 Presidential candidates in his Washington D.C. office, according to a Monday Politico report.
He has reportedly met with contenders including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Vice President Joe Biden, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D), former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), former Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander (D), and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).
Per Politico, Obama also had a one-on-one with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) when he was out of town, and hosted Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) last year.
The meetings reportedly tend to be long and varied, as the former President weighs in on everything from philosophy and ideology to logistics and messaging.
In his meeting with Sanders, Obama and the Vermont Senator discussed their different visions of the Democratic Party’s future, reportedly debating the gaps between idealism and practicality.
Per Politico, Obama met Warren in April, when they reminisced and discussed the Trump presidency. This was reportedly the second meeting of the two, as the pair had come together in spring 2017 after Warren criticized Obama for accepting large sums in exchange for his speeches and appearances.
Obama and Biden, still very close friends, have been in frequent contact, though Biden is reportedly holding his 2020 decision until after the 2018 midterms.
Patrick is a favorite among Obama and his circle, and has reportedly discussed his future in politics with the former President.
Though Obama has largely kept out of the spotlight during the Trump presidency, he has reportedly been working feverishly on the sidelines as he and his staff set up an endorsement and campaign plan for the fall.
Per Politico, he has also been contacting donors, meeting with former Attorney General Eric Holder about the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and working on a new memoir.