Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report

Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama to headline Essence Festival Obama shares tribute to Michelle to celebrate Mother's Day 111-year-old woman gets free tickets to see Michelle Obama book tour MORE are expected not to endorse a Democratic candidate in the party's 2020 presidential primary, sources told The New York Times in a report released Monday.

The former president has met with and counseled several contenders.

Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker vows to form White House office on abortion rights 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE (N.J.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg are among the declared Democratic candidates Obama has spoken to, according to the Times.

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Obama has also reportedly met with prominent potential candidates including former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Opposition research requests for O'Rourke 'have completely died off': report MORE (D-Texas), former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEric Holder: 'There are grounds for impeachment' in Mueller report Prosecutor appointed by Barr poised to enter Washington firestorm Dems struggle to make Trump bend on probes MORE and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to the former president, told the Times that Obama has been encouraged by the “diverse, experienced and principled” field of candidates taking shape, and that he had been “happy to speak privately with candidates seeking his guidance on the best way to lead the country.”

“President Obama counsels candidates to always show up and make their case even in areas or in front of audiences they may not necessarily win; express views and positions that reflect their genuine beliefs; and share a positive vision for the country true to their own personal story,” Schultz said.

The Times reports that Obama would not even endorse his former vice president, Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie becomes first African to deliver Yale graduation speech MORE, if he enters the race. 

Obama has reportedly offered candidates a combination of supportive advice and warnings, cautioning that running for president is a punishing process, seven people who have spoken with him directly or were briefed in detail on the meetings told the Times.

During the 2016 presidential race, Obama did not endorse former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE until she officially became the Democratic nominee.