Barack Obama was back in the public eye this week, and after an extended post-presidential jaunt to French Polynesia, he’s hitting the public speaking circuit.
Starting off on a high note, Obama moderated a young leaders panel Monday at the University of Chicago, but one of the former president’s scheduled speaking dates has raised some eyebrows — he’ll be delivering a speech to a room full of Wall Street bankers, or “fat cats” as Obama likes to call them.
The price tag? Obama will earn a whopping $400,000 for the gig in September with Canto Fitzgerald, a New York-based investment bank, The Telegraph reported. The speech is estimated to last about an hour.
The hypocrisy of the speaking arrangement (and six-figure payout) hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Is there an irony here because he spoke incessantly about the income gap and is now earning from those same people he criticized? Yes it is,” Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf told the New York Post.
“Should we expect it? Yes, we should because all former presidents do this. He went on the attack against Wall Street and now he’s being fed by those same people he called ‘fat cats.’ It’s more hypocritical than ironic.”
During a 2009 interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Obama famously said, “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat-cat bankers on Wall Street.” He also demanded accountability from the banks throughout his presidency, blaming them for the 2008 financial crisis.
Though the New York Post reported Obama’s camp had not yet confirmed the appearance, a spokeswoman for Canto did not deny that Obama had agreed to speak at the firm for the $400,000 fee.
Obama’s payday is reportedly twice what Hillary Clinton charged for similar private speeches with businesses.
Former President Bill Clinton is also known for cashing in on speeches on Wall Street — in fact cashing in on their celebrity is common among presidents like Obama who aren’t independently wealthy.