The age of social distancing can be a bit of a struggle even for former presidents

By Adam Carlson
May 14, 2020 11:17 AM
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The age of social distancing can be a bit of a struggle even for former presidents — just ask Barack Obama.

During a recent call with some of his former administration staffers, Obama, 58, said that not having sports to watch during the novel coronavirus pandemic was "driving me nuts," according to audio of the call obtained by Yahoo News.

At least daughters Malia and Sasha "are stuck having dinner with me," he said.

The call first made news because of the sharp words Obama had to share about the Trump administration, expressing dismay over the federal government's decision to drop its case against disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

He also called the administration's heavily scrutinized coronavirus strategy "an absolute chaotic disaster." (The White House responded, in part, "President Trump’s coronavirus response has been unprecedented and saved American lives.")

President Obama and his wife, former First Lady Michelle Obama, have been staying at home in Washington, D.C., with their girls for weeks.

While they have been working on various projects and initiatives — Mrs. Obama, 56, appeared with Former First Lady Laura Bush on a coronavirus relief special and was the subject of a new Netflix documentary this month; President Obama has been working on an upcoming memoir and will be making a series of virtual appearances to celebrate the graduating class of 2020 — they have also been finding a rhythm as a four-some again.

“We’re just trying to just keep a routine going," Mrs. Obama told friend Ellen DeGeneres during a March phone call the talk show host posted on social media. "But," she said, "we also got a little Netflix and chilling happening."

From left: former President Barack Obama and daughter Malia Obama
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
A family photo of the Obamas former First Lady Michelle Obama shared on Thanksgiving 2019
Michelle Obama/Twitter

"Everybody’s home," Mrs. Obama said in March. "The girls are back because colleges are now online. So they’re off in their respective rooms doing their online classes and I think Barack is — I don’t know where he is. He was on the phone on a conference call. I just got finished with a conference call.”

Daughters Malia and Sasha — the former who is finishing her junior year at Harvard University, the latter who is a University of Michigan freshman — returned to the spotlight this month as well, after a fashion. They both appeared in Netflix's Becoming documentary, about their mom's sold-out book tour.

Malia, 21, was seen in behind-the-scenes moments, at one point speaking emotionally about her mother's post-White House influence.

"This has demonstrated in a way — it’s just like, damn, those eight years weren’t for nothing. You know?" Malia tells her mom. "You see that huge crowd out there and that last kind of speech you gave about — people are here because people really believe in hope and hope in other people."

Malia Obama (left) and Sasha Obama in 2016

Elsewhere in the documentary, Sasha, 18, was seen with Malia in a brief clip that originally recorded in 2018 for a video shown at their mom’s events.

"I’m excited for her to be proud of what she’s done," Sasha said then, "‘cause I think that’s the most important thing for a human to do is be proud of themselves."