Former President Barrick Obama is getting criticized for agreeing to do a speech at the Wall Street firm Cantor-Fitzgerald for the steep fee of $400,000. Both fellow political leaders, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren made statements about how they were “troubled” by it.
“I think it just does not look good. It’s not a good idea. And, you know, I’m sorry that President Obama made that choice. He’s a private citizen. I just think it is distasteful,” said Sanders. “Wall Street has incredible power, and I would have hoped that the president would not have given a speech like this.”
The CNN contributor Van Jones doesn’t think the former president’s speech fee is “distasteful,” but that Obama should complete a “poverty tour” before accepting high paying speeches.
He believes that this could help minimize the backlash from other politicians and the public.
“It’s not distasteful. You think that he started off talking to those kids in Chicago and we need a Bobby Kennedy in this country and I hope that he will do a tour, go to Apalachicola, go to Native American reservations where they are shoving these pipelines down their throats and they don’t have a clean running water. Go to south central. Go to the Arizona border where you have a lot of poverty,” said Jones to CNN’s Jack Tapper.
“If he would do a poverty tour first — listen, he should not be the first president that has to be broke. Listen, every other president went out there and gave big speeches. Don’t hold him to a double standard — don’t double standard him.”
Tapper also mentioned Obama’s recent $60 million book deal. Obama is expected to earn as much as $800,000 from only doing two speaking engagements scheduled this year.
Author’s note: Every former president usually gets backlash for the high fees they fetch for doing post-presidency speaking engagements. Jones has a point about Obama being able to make a living, but he makes a better point about having Obama do a “poverty tour” first. While, Jones is recommending the tour because he thinks this could help Obama’s reputation, we think it would be a good way for him to see how he screwed up and to see firsthand the impact his presidency had.
Editor’s note: This may be the one an only time I ever agree with Van Jones. But Obama needs to see the mess that he made. He had 8 years, he did nothing.