After a much-needed post-presidency vacation, Number 44 has returned — and almost immediately gotten himself into a PR mess.
Former President Barack Obama’s reemergence into public life started out well enough with an appearance on a community engagement panel in Chicago. But things took a controversial turn when it was reported that he plans to accept $400,000 to speak at a health care conference funded by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald.
While cashing in after leaving office is obviously nothing new, Obama’s timing has been criticized. Taking a boatload of money from bankers could threaten his credibility on the left at a time when leaders like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Keith Ellison have gained prominence by calling for greater accountability on Wall Street — and for officeholders.
On the other hand, as Trevor points out, it’s entirely possible that some of the hate is driven by classic anti-Obama resentment.
For now, the tradition of post-presidency buckraking continues. And if there is a lesson in this for the rest of us, it’s this: Going back to work after being on vacation always sucks, even if you’re the former leader of the free world.