"The president was generous with his time and advice, and he was excited to talk about the future."

President Barack Obama has been having secret meetings to advise potential Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election, according to a Politico report published Monday. 

The meetings have been with the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Obama has also met with some lesser-known potential candidates, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“The president was generous with his time and advice, and he was excited to talk about the future,” a person familiar with one of the meetings told Politico.

Obama has conferred with the leaders to help formulate a strategy for the Democrats to win back the White House at the end of President Donald Trump's first term. 

While public figures and celebrities, like Robert De Niro, have been quick to criticize Trump, Obama has been reluctant to openly lead the Democrats since leaving office in 2016. 

He has been publicly critical of the president and his agenda only a handful of times.

In a Facebook post last year, Obama publicly challenged Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects certain immigrants who arrived in the United States at a young age. 

Last October, Obama said in a speech at a rally for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, "You’ll notice I haven’t been commenting a lot on politics lately, but here’s one thing I know: if you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you’re not going to be able to govern them. You won’t be able to unite them later if that’s how you start.”

According to the Politico report, Obama wants to help shape the future of the Democratic party without getting directly involved. He will not be endorsing anyone until an official nominee has been selected.