Republicans don’t want to talk about how they’ve gone full-terrorist in their support and complicity of the January 6th insurrection. So this is the story being promoted far and wide by conservative outlets and mainstream media: Barack Obama is throwing a birthday party for himself on Martha’s Vineyard. How dare he! How dare the former president host a responsible outdoor party for his 60th birthday, inviting only fully vaccinated people! Doesn’t he know that Republicans have been trying to spread misinformation about the pandemic for the past year and a half?
Former President Obama is hosting a 60th birthday bash for himself and hundreds of guests on Martha’s Vineyard this coming weekend amid heightened public health concerns — locally and nationally — about the COVID-19 Delta variant.
Why it matters: The recent breakthrough cases in nearby Provincetown, Massachusetts, after the July Fourth holiday showed the continued risk of spread even between vaccinated people — prompting new masking guidelines from the CDC.
“If you’re talking about a small party like I might have at my house for six or eight people who are all fully vaccinated, I do not believe, at this point, we need to put masks on to be next to each other,” Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” While discussing generic masking protocols, not the Obama party itself, he added: “But if there were 100 people, and, of course, how are you really going to be sure about people’s vaccination status?”
A person with knowledge of the Obama party protocols said all guests will have to be COVID-tested, although they didn’t say when, where or what proof they would have to offer. Among the safety measures said to be put in place: The party will be held outdoors, all guests are asked to be vaccinated and invitees have been told there will be a COVID-coordinator to ensure all proper protocols are followed. Martha’s Vineyard does not qualify as an area of “substantially-high” risk, which was the target of the CDC recommendations. Obama officials did not say whether guests will be required to wear masks. Axios AM also reported Sunday about the extremely low rate of infection for people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Axios’ Margaret Talev was told by one person on-island the party will be held at the former first family’s $12-million home, which sits on 30 oceanfront acres. The party already is the talk of Uber drivers, hotel maids and check-in clerks. One person with connections to Obamaworld said there were 475 confirmed guests — including friends, family and former aides — and 200-plus staff planning to work the party. Pearl Jam was set to play, and one local hairdresser had been retained to style the hair of a band member. Steven Spielberg also was expected.
In lieu of gifts, one person familiar with the gathering said, “guests are being asked to consider giving to programs that work to support boys and young men of color and their families here at home in the United States, empower adolescent girls around the world, and equip the next generation of emerging community leaders.”
A White House spokesperson said in a statement to Axios, “While President Biden is unable to attend this weekend, he looks forward to catching up with former President Obama soon and properly welcoming him into the over-sixty club.” The official did not address whether the White House harbored any public health concerns about the gathering.
I can absolutely feel the desperation wafting off of Axios as they try to stir up trouble. Y’all really think Barack Obama is going to host a big blow-out party and NOT make people show proof of vaccination? Y’all really think that a group of vaccinated people cannot and should not enjoy an outdoor party on the former president’s luxurious Martha’s Vineyard estate? Please. My vaccinated ass would be there. I would bring a mask, for sure. But if I was invited, of course I would go. It’s not like Obama is going to invite a bunch of those unhinged anti-Vaxxers, for the love of God.
And yes, I know there’s some legitimate concern about the Delta variant and we should all go back to being more careful and social-distancing and all of that. Of course we should. We will. Right after Obama’s party. Happy early birthday, Barry!
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.