Former President Barack Obama took a shot at President Donald Trump on Thursday while earning $400,000 for an appearance, according to a new media report.
Only days after Obama made waves when agreed to be paid $400,000 for a speech this fall to Cantor Fitzgerald, a Wall Street firm, he appeared at the A&E Networks advertising upfront at The Pierre Hotel for the same fee, the New York Post reported.
At the event, called a “History Makers” lunch developed by A&E’s History Channel, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin interviewed Obama.
The Post, which based its reporting on a source at the event, said Goodwin asked the former president how he dealt with frustration, noting that Abraham Lincoln wrote angry letters, stuffed them in a desk and never mailed them.
“For starters, by not having a Twitter account,” Obama replied in a thinly veiled jab at Trump whose use of Twitter has been a defining aspect of his candidacy and presidency.
Obama also said he has not yet driven a car himself, but that he is learning how to use the coffee machine in the Washington D.C. home the Obamas moved to after leaving the White House.
As Obama racked up another big payday, questions lingered over the September speech
“In a party that doesn’t really have especially captivating personalities right now, he remains a figurehead. If he goes down the road of speaking for a lot of money, that has the potential to hurt the party,” said Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University.
That mirrored the reaction by some far-left groups to Obama’s payday.
“Even if he donates the money from this Wall Street firm to charity, his speech and remuneration reminds ‘ordinary’ working class people that both major political parties are in bed with Big Business,” said David Michael Smith, of the Houston Socialist Movement.
“In my view, our country needs a new kind of political party and social movement to represent the vast majority of the population, not the wealthy few,” he said.
There is no legal barrier to former presidents taking what the market will give.
“It’s not a question of whether it’s legal. It’s a question of whether someone in a political environment can make an argument that it was unethical,” said Robert Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota and former ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush.