On Friday night’s episode of “Real Time” on HBO, liberal host Bill Maher criticized former President Barack Obama for agreeing to give a speech at a Wall Street firm in September 2017 in exchange for $400,000. Obama was a harsh critic of Wall Street throughout his presidency and often villainized large corporations and wealthy investors for not “paying their fair share.”
After posing a question about Obama’s decision to accept the Wall Street cash, Maher first listened to the panel mostly dismiss the attacks on Obama, including Hollywood actor, producer, and director Rob Reiner, who suggested it’s acceptable for Obama take the money because he’s not “in the pocket of Wall Street.”
“He’s not running for anything right now,” said Reiner, who also claimed he would be bothered by it if he were going to run for office again in the future.
Maher didn’t buy that argument and suggested this sort of connection to Wall Street could lead to corruption.
“It kind of looks like: when he’s on our team, we’re OK with it,” Maher said, adding later, “You could say that when a guy is president, he’s looking ahead to that $400,000 payday. And he’s not going to get it if, while he’s president, he’s going to do something to p*** them off. So, isn’t the best thing to do to take your $10 million book deal? Can’t you live off that?”
Maher isn’t the only one on the left who has been critical of Obama’s speeches. In an interview with CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the speeches are “not a good idea.”
“I just think it does not look good,” Sanders said to CNN. “I just think it is distasteful—not a good idea that he did that.”