Barack Obama, who had gone through a streak of good publicity during his recent post-presidency appearances, is now being criticized for a recent revelation by The New York Post. The newspaper revealed that he was paid $400,000 for appearing at A&E Network’s advertising upfront at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. At the event, he participated in a 90-minute-long interview. Additionally, the Post reported that he has agreed to speak at a health care event sponsored by a Wall Street bank in September, which will also earn him a $400,000 appearance fee. $400,000 is a notable number, as it is the annual salary Obama made during his time in office.
Criticism came not only from Republicans, but some Democrats as well. For example, leading Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told a radio show that she “was troubled by that” news. Democratic Senator of Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also expressed his concerns on CBS This Morning, saying, “I think at a time when people are so frustrated with the power of Wall Street and the big money interests, I think it is unfortunate that President Obama is doing this.” Many used this to question whether Obama had more influence from health care lobbyists during his administration than he let on. Obama spokesman Ed Schulz defended the former President’s reputation: “With regard to this or any speech involving Wall Street sponsors, I’d just point out that in 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history, and still went on to successfully pass and implement the toughest reforms on Wall Street since FDR.”
During the appearance with A&E Network, Obama talked about adapting to life after the presidency, mentioning smaller details such as his relearning the mechanics of working a coffee machine, and not having driven a car since leaving the White House. When asked about how he dealt with anger as President, he made an underhanded reference to current President Donald Trump by saying, “For starters, by not having a Twitter account.”