BOSTON (AP) — Former President Barack Obama returns to the spotlight Sunday to accept an award for political courage from the John F. Kennedy family, days after House Republicans won passage of a bill dismantling much of Obama’s signature health insurance law.
The Democrat has made few public appearances since leaving office in January, and has avoided mention of his Republican successor in the White House, even as President Donald Trump has criticized the previous administration numerous times while moving to undo many of Obama’s initiatives.
Obama is to receive the Profile in Courage Award during a dinner at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The annual award is named for a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Kennedy that profiled eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking principled though unpopular positions.
“President Kennedy called on a new generation of Americans to give their talents to the service of the country,” said Caroline Kennedy, the late president’s daughter, in announcing the award in March. “With exceptional dignity and courage, President Obama has carried that torch into our time, providing young people of all backgrounds with an example they can emulate in their own lives.”
The JFK Library Foundation lauded Obama for expanding health security to millions of Americans, which opponents of the bill passed by the House on Thursday argue could be lost if it becomes law. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
The foundation also cited Obama’s leadership toward an international agreement on climate change, and restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba.
While the former president has steered away from involvement in U.S. affairs during his early months out of office, he forayed into the French political debate last week by posting a message of endorsement for France’s centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron in his campaign against far right candidate Marine La Pen.
Obama is not the first U.S. president to receive the Profile in Courage award. Previous recipients include Republicans Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.