News broke last week that former President Barack Obama will give a speech at a health care conference hosted by a mid-sized Manhattan Wall Street investment firm later this year.
The announcement seemingly broke with a decade of criticism Obama launched at Wall Street. During his eight year presidency, Obama maintained that Wall Street was responsible for the 2008 financial crisis and demanded increased reforms, regulation and accountability of the “big banks.”
In a 60 “Minutes” interview in 2009, Obama famously said: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”
But come September, Obama will accept a $400,000 check from Cantor Fitzgerald for a one hour keynote speech.
And while the decision breaks with years of rhetoric from the former Democratic president, it also breaks with what Obama said just prior to leaving the White House.
In a “60 Minutes” interview just days prior to leaving office in January, “60 Minutes” host Steve Kroft asked Obama: “You’re not going to go to Wall Street, make a lot of money?”
“I am not going to Wall Street,” Obama replied. “The amount of time that I’ll be investing in issues is going to be high. But it’ll be necessarily in a different capacity.”
— DeplorablyScottish (@ShennaFoxMusic) April 26, 2017
Despite Obama’s rhetoric against Wall Street during his presidency and his pledge to not “make a lot of money” from Wall Street post-presidency, Obama’s spokesman defended his decision to speak at the event.
“As we announced months ago, President Obama will deliver speeches from time to time. Some of those speeches will be paid, some will be unpaid and regardless of venue or sponsor, President Obama will be true to his values, his vision and his record,” spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.
Obama is already making millions in his short post-White House career. In addition to the $400,000 he will receive for his speech this September, Obama received $400,000 for a 90-minute interview with a presidential historian last week, according to Newsweek.
Obama, along with wife Michelle, also received a reported $65 million from book publisher Penguin Random House for their post-White House memoirs.
And while he’s making millions, Obama is still collecting a federal presidential pension to the tune of $205,700 annually, in addition to federal money to pay for his staff and office space, according to Time Magazine.