Barack Obama caves to unhinged GOP pressure & changes his b-day party plans

USA - 2020 - President Barack Obama drive-in rally in Atlanta

I hope y’all are happy. Our Forever POTUS Barack Obama was going to host an elegant, vaccinated and outdoor birthday party for himself on Martha’s Vineyard and then everyone got hysterical about it. So now the party is still happening but with a reduced guest list! Axios was the first outlet to get melodramatic about “how dare Barry Obama host a party with vaccinated people!?” Conservatives bandwagoned on the issue and accused Democrats of hypocrisy because, you see, if Donald Trump threw himself a party, Democrats would be mad. If Trump threw himself a party, it would be an unmasked, unvaccinated insurrection. Barry’s party will be an outdoor buffet with sane vaccinated people who have no desire for armed insurrection. So here we are:

Barack Obama’s upcoming birthday celebration has been scaled back as the delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading across parts of the United States. The former president and his wife, Michelle Obama, initially planned to celebrate his 60th birthday next weekend with friends, family and former staff on his 29-acre oceanside property in Martha’s Vineyard. But the lengthy guest list, which drew criticism from conservatives after details were first reported, has now been reduced.

“This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with COVID safeguards in place,” Hannah Hankins, a spokeswoman for the Obamas, tells PEOPLE. “Due to the new spread of the Delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends. He’s appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon,” Hankins said in her statement.

PEOPLE previously reported that guests attending the party will be required to undergo COVID testing. The event will be overseen by a medical professional who is intended to ensure that state and local pandemic protocols are followed along with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President and Mrs. Obama have been strong advocates for vaccinations, too, getting inoculated alongside other former presidents and first ladies in March. “I encourage everyone to get a vaccine as soon as they have an opportunity,” the former first lady told PEOPLE at the time.

It’s unclear how many people will now be in attendance at the party. Outlets like Axios had reported the original guest list had around 475 confirmed attendees, but the Obama camp would not attach numbers or names to the shrunken guest list.

A source no longer going to the party tells PEOPLE that “no one needs to feel sorry for Barack Obama. This is the reality so many people are facing with COVID and it’s the right thing to do,” the insider says, adding that the Obamas “have no interest in being a distraction from the basic point: that everyone should get vaccinated.”

At least a handful of celebrities are still expected to attend by virtue of their close friendships — and partnerships — with the former first couple. Bruce Springsteen, for example, is currently working on a book with President Obama after doing a podcast together. One news outlet had reported that Pearl Jam was to perform at the party though the former president’s tastes lean more toward hip-hop, rap and pop classics. But a spokesperson for the rock band told Fox News: “Pearl Jam is not performing at Obama’s 60th birthday party this weekend.”

[From People]

No Pearl Jam, no guest list of 450-plus and no fun! I feel bad that Barry had to change his birthday plans mostly because Republicans are addicted to criticizing every f–king thing he does. I mean, sure, it’s wise of the Obamas to change the party plans with the rise of the Delta variant. The Obamas respect the science and perhaps everyone will take the Delta variant seriously now. Oh wait, that won’t happen. Right after all of those Republican douchef–ks whined about Obama’s party, they went on to promote vaccine misinformation and scream about how no one should wear masks. I would be downright shocked if Republicans in Congress don’t try to have at least five hearings on Barry Obama’s birthday party.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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111 Responses to “Barack Obama caves to unhinged GOP pressure & changes his b-day party plans”

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  1. Bex says:

    OR it was always a lowkey affair and Axios opted to play fast and loose with fabricated details and a sprinkling of fanfiction.

    Just enough to rile up the people who love to tell Black people what to do (or not do).

    • North of Boston says:

      Yup!

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, something tells me it was never going to be excessive. But the right would have posted photos of Lollapalooza claiming it’s his party, and probably still will. The outrage isn’t going to foment itself.

      There is literally no way the Obamas can win. It will always be this way. Sigh.

    • Haylie says:

      Yup. And the usual Karens here fell for it hook, live and sinker.

    • Lucy2 says:

      Exactly- that’s what I said with the first story, I bet it was planned to be much smaller than the media was reporting, especially when their sources were tenuous at best. Rumors and exaggerations.
      Whatever the situation, I hope it’s a safe and enjoyable event.

    • Abby says:

      Ehh, Axios is not Fox News. They’re not a frothing-at-the-mouth right-wing media outlet.

      I love the obamas, but I don’t think we’re at a point in the pandemic where a big party is a good look. Unfortunately. End of May, looking ahead, I would have thought it would be fine. But the Delta variant does change things.

      • Haylie says:

        An outlet doesn’t have to be Fox News to go along with false and harmful narratives. All the major media outlets doesn’t 2008 expecting Michelle Obama to prove she wasn’t an angry black woman who hated “whitey” and they all gave life to Trump’s birther narrative too.

      • LightPurple says:

        Fox News did pick up the story and ran with it and its minions went nuts.

      • Moira's Rose's Garden says:

        “An outlet doesn’t have to be Fox News to go along with false and harmful narratives”

        Spot on @Haylie. Just like CNN and MSBNBC gave all of that airtime to covering Cheeto Hitler’s rallies in 2015/2016 and then complained that we didn’t hear anything from Hillary.

      • florencia says:

        THIS. I’d like to think we’re all sane enough to love Barack but also admit a big party right now just isn’t in the cards.

    • Mel says:

      Agreed. I think it was also going to be a small party and the Tin hats got carried away.

    • Anna says:

      That part @Bex

  2. Merricat says:

    I sometimes wish these anti-vax, anti-science people would hurry up and Darwin themselves out of existence.

    • Sankay says:

      Agreed.

      I hate that the GOP are so good an shaming at things like this when they go about their business of vacationing, weddings, birthday parties and nazi and white supremacy worshiping. Meanwhile, democrats are weak and fold easily. The GOP and Orange one are loving this, laughing their asses off that they were able to destroy a black mans birthday party.

      • Ainsley7 says:

        I don’t think it’s weak to have a conscious. The GOP are good at shaming because people on the left actually have morals and are often more willing to admit mistakes. You can’t shame the shameless. That’s why they can point fingers at the left and we bother to do something. We actually hold our side accountable. They don’t have the morals or strength to hold their own people accountable.

      • Merricat says:

        The so-called GOP has long since lost any credibility in terms of integrity.

      • Traveler says:

        Perfect response @Ainsley7.

    • Jaded says:

      They will Merricat, these variants getting worse and all the conspiracy theorizing in the world won’t make it go away. Masks, social distancing and vaccinations will likely be the continuing norm for some years and all the Ron DeSantis’s, Marjorie Taylor Greene’s and Matt Gaetz’s in the world can keep flapping their gums about “mah raghts!!!” but all it will do is increase sickness and death rates.

  3. Maddie says:

    With Delta Plus & Lambda making themselves known, it’s the responsible thing to do.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yup.

    • STRIPE says:

      Yep. Not to mention that Obama is a major face of the Dem party. if we are the party shouting from the rooftops that COVID is real and should be taken seriously, even if vaccinated, fair or not, we all have to mind our optics here. That goes 10000x for him and other politicians. If we don’t, we risk making true the Republicans saying against us “rules for thee but not for me”

      Gavin Newsom made a similar unforced error in the early days of COVID, as did the mayor of Austin.

      • SMS says:

        Completely agree- this variant is bad. A friend’s young cousin just caught covid and his vaccinated father had just been in Provincetown and a fully vaccinated friend caught Covid and was hospitalized. It’s not time for parties even if you are vaccinated.

    • Kate says:

      Yeah, I don’t understand the tone of this post. He certainly shouldn’t be having a huge party, criticism from conservatives or not, given the recent developments.

      • sa says:

        Exactly.

      • Cinnamon says:

        Thank you for saying this. The optics were bad and the reality is a large party for anyone right now is a terrible idea, fully vaccinated or not. I love the Obamas but if they went through with this I think it would have done a lot damage and the COVID skeptics would have really gone in on it. I also don’t think the Axios article is what prompted the cancellation but more likely the changing COVID landscape.

      • kmgni says:

        Yes. This post really seems to highlight the essence of “I’m gonna live my life” that is so wrong right now. And yes, even when vaccinated. Who cares if he can’t have Pearl Jam?! This attitude is the same as all these dumbasses doing things they just cannot wait until it’s safe to do.

        I do wonder though, if it was never going to be this big. It actually shocked me that he would do such a thing while Delta is raging through so many.

      • florencia says:

        This site’s never been known to use reasonableness in relation to its favorites, lol, totally agree a large party is a bad call right now!

    • Cava24 says:

      + 1. Yup. I don’t think it was just Republican pressure that got them to switch gears (if they even did that). There was a big outbreak in Provincetown (also on Cape Cod) recently and news outlets have been reporting on the breakthrough infections from that. The breakthrough infections are not as bad but people were still sick and their viral load and capacity to infect other people was high. (The Daily podcast from The NY Times had a good episode about this the other day).

    • thaisajs says:

      Agree 100 percent. Even fully vaccinated people can spread the Delta variant and there are too many kids under 12 who can get it since they can’t get vaccinated. Scaling back the party — even if it was outdoors — was the right thing to do.

    • Annabel says:

      Agreed. The Delta variant changes the equation—we’re talking about a version of Covid that’s literally twice as contagious as the original. This party seemed perfectly reasonable a couple months ago, but it would be pretty irresponsible to host something like this at the present moment.

  4. LightPurple says:

    Happy Birthday, President Obama!

  5. Midge says:

    Trump could throw a rally tomorrow with 2 million maskless, unvaccinated assclowns and there would not be a peep from GOP hypocrites.

    • Haylie says:

      Or the “liberal” allies who “would’ve voted for Obama a 3rd time.”

      Pocket-watching black people and how they live/spend their money is a bipartisan racist sport. People are still having big weddings, sending kids who are too young for vaccination back to school, and eating indoors at restaurants. The hypocrisy of it all.

    • STRIPE says:

      No there wouldn’t. But to be fair to them (ugh I can believe I said that need a shower…) they are the party and media ecosystem downplaying COVID, so it’s not hypocritical for their side to flout guidelines. We can obviously agree they are wrong to downplay COVID, but that’s another discussion…

      Obama is someone saying we should take the virus seriously, and sacrifice a lot to do so. So yes, to me, it is fair to criticize him (and any other Dem) for a 500 person party.

  6. HandforthParish says:

    To be fair there were valid bipartisan concerns with this party.
    Vaccinated people can still spread the delta variant.

    I’m a huge Barack and Michelle fan and I am surprised they were planning such a huge bash- to me it is the kind of move I’d expect the Trump family to make.

    • Esmom says:

      In no universe would an Obama party resemble anything the Trumps would do. You think the Trumps would require Covid testing?

      • HandforthParish says:

        I’m talking huge bash type of thing.
        With the delta variant vaccinated or not it can still be caught and spread.
        The vaccine is not 100% effective, it’s only about 75 against the delta. It does, however, protect against severe symptoms.
        Someone vaccinated can easily have and spread Covid without knowing it and a test might not show an infection for a while.
        This variant is hugely contagious.

      • FancyPants says:

        The Trump White House did require COVID testing, and they had multiple outbreaks anyway. [This is in no way an endorsement of anything Trump did.]

      • Emmitt says:

        Trump is a germaphobe so I absolutely think if Trump threw a big party he would have required Covid testing. Remember, Trump ran to get the vaccine the minute it rolled out and his family, too.

        A rally? No. A party at his house? Absoutely.

    • Esmom says:

      I’m not trying to defend a big party, I think it makes sense to scale back. But to be fair I’m guessing it was planned long before the Delta uptick. I think we have finally learned that we are going to have to readjust our response constantly, for a long time.

      And sure, the Trump White House may have required Covid testing but I thought we were talking about private parties.

  7. minx says:

    Hard to believe he’s 60! He always will seem youthful to me.

  8. Jillian says:

    There’s no scenario where any large gatherings, vaxxed or not, are a smart or socially responsible thing to do mid-pandemic. If that was the original plan, I’m glad it was changed

    • FancyPants says:

      Right. It isn’t okay when Trump does it and it isn’t okay when anybody does it, whether you like the people involved or not. 500 people should not be gathering anywhere together right now, vaccinated or not.

    • Tulipworthy says:

      So true. I (a hugh Obama fan) was disappointed when I read on here the other day that he was having a big party. Now is not the time for big gatherings.

      • SarahCS says:

        This is how I feel about it. Who knows how many people they actually planned to invite but given how contagious the Delta variant is plus still having a risk of symptomatic or asymptomatic covid after vaccination it’s not the time for getting people together more than you need to.

    • Darla says:

      I disagree, if everyone is vaxxed and it’s outdoors I think it’s fine. I know vaccinated people can still get and spread covid, so please don’t say that for the millionth time. If everyone is vaccinated, and everyone is tested, and it’s outdoors, it would not be a super spreader event. There is no 100% surety in anything in life. But that’s pretty good.

      • Jennifer says:

        I’m not sure any more if LARGE numbers of vaxxed people + outside is safe, given the studies about that music thing in the Netherlands and Provincetown.

        Sigh.

        I mean, it’s not as bad as it could be, but suddenly nobody knows any more, and would you want to be responsible for say, Clooney and the family getting it due to your party?

  9. Sofia says:

    Happy Birthday! I think a scaled back event is a good idea in general.

  10. AnnaC says:

    I have friends in the building industry on MV and they have said the general feeling is relief to hear it’s being scaled back, and no, they aren’t conspiracy theorists, racists, etc. Rumors on the island were that it was originally planned as a pretty big event and that many VIP’s, with their security teams, private jets, etc. all convening at the same time is a PITA for residents and average Joe visitors in the best of times, add rapidly increasing COVID numbers In Massachusetts and southern New England, limited healthcare facilities on MV, etc. and, aside from the income it would generate for the hospitality industry, no one was looking forward to it.

    • LightPurple says:

      Yes, Martha’s vineyard Hospital is a small facility with only 25 beds. Major health emergencies get moved off island, usually by helicopter to Cape Cod Hospital, which has less than 300 beds, or all the way up to Mass General Hospital. The cost of the medical helicopter starts around $15,000. Not that that cost would be a problem for many of Obama’s guests but if they’re taking up all the MV Hospital beds, other people who don’t have that sort of cash will be riding those helicopters.

      • lucy2 says:

        I remember early in the pandemic a lot of people fled to MV to ride it out, and the medical professionals there were worried. We had a similar situation here, I live in a summer resort area, and all of a sudden we had thousands of extra people here in March 2020, and the hospital here is fairly small.

  11. Meghan says:

    Covid aside, how do you even host a birthday party for 475 people? It sounds exhausting. You’re going to want to at least greet everyone, no? And probably have some type of conversation and small talk. Is this an all-day affair?!

    Personally, once we get Covid to a manageable situation I hope Obama throws a “f&*k it, it’s Tuesday” party for 1000 people just because he can.

    • sa says:

      “Covid aside, how do you even host a birthday party for 475 people? It sounds exhausting.”

      Right! I know that extroverts get energy from being around people, maybe Obama is a super-extrovert?

    • windyriver says:

      Yes, it would be exhausting, which is one more reason I doubt the 475 number publicized was accurate. I’d be more likely to believe something like 175, similar to the guest list at, say, a wedding, which would be more manageable from a social interaction standpoint, and a much more comfortable crowd size, even for the Obama’s large property. But who knows.

      In any event, given the current situation with Delta transmission, etc., much more responsible to scale whatever was planned way back, especially considering, as commented above, the possible impacts on the local MV population…

    • Lionel says:

      I once (pre-COVID, obvs) went to a celebrity’s bday party of about that size. It was through my work but I was there as a legit invited guest. At that level I don’t think many people expect to hang out with the birthday boy, they’re supposed to be grateful just for the invitation. In this case the celeb hung out with his friends/entourage and did some glad-handing with various VIPs, while the other 80% of us just hung out with each other enjoying the food and music. Better than making awkward small talk with a celebrity you barely know who will move on to the next guest a half-second later anyway!

  12. Anonymous says:

    President Obama was right to scale this back. This is not because of republicans or democrats. The Delta variant is a game changer. Even vaccinated people are at risk of getting very sick ( they will be protected against need for ventilators or death). People attending might have jobs working with small children that are unable to vaccinate or immunocompromised patients. We owe it to our medical first responders to vaccinate, mask up and social distance for the time being. President Obama is a very smart man. He knows the recent Delta variant changed the scenario from when he initially planned this. Hopefully, he’ll have a wonderful low key birthday and if circumstances allow a huge blowout next year. Happy Birthday, President Obama.

    • teehee says:

      I came to say the same– this has everything to do with Delta/Lambda surges and less if anything to do with critics.
      The hypocrites can just take a long walk off a short pier in the face of the right thing to do.

    • Maddie says:

      Thank you. I consider myself a reasonable person and I was suprised how many people insisted he should definitely hold a party with 500 guests + 200 staff members working the event and that the ones who disagreed were only jealous republicans who were mad they weren’t invited.
      Vaccines protect us to a certain degree, but it’s still up to every single one of us to behave responsibly and do what we can to end this pandemic. A 700 person birthday bash is not that.

      • Kelly says:

        Same. 500 guests is still 500.

      • sa says:

        “+ 200 staff members working the event ”

        This is the part that concerns me, the 500 (or however many) guests are making their own decisions about attending. But a lot of the staff probably don’t have the luxury of declining the work. Even if they take reasonable precautions, I wouldn’t want to take that risk, so I can’t help but feel for others who also don’t want to take the risk but don’t have the option not to.

  13. Becks1 says:

    My guess is it was never planned to be the 400-500-600 person bash that was being discussed, and I also think that if it was scaled back, it was because of genuine health concerns, not Republican pushback.

    • Anna says:

      Agreed @Becks1 This is a story that got completely blown out of proportion by the media and right wing nuts. But let it be a republican or magass and no one would say anything.

    • Nic919 says:

      I agree. And Axios is like politico. They pretend to be better than Fox News but they “both sides” things all the time and basically report political gossip.

      Maybe at one point there were plans or something larger, but the obamas aren’t dumb.

      Where is the same energy reporting on the people wandering maskless in Mar a lago in Florida?

  14. badrockandroll says:

    Generally speaking, I cut Axios a lot of slack because of Jonathon Swan, who along with Mehdi Hasan, are the best interviewers in American journalism. However, when they hired Margaret Talev they slid a bit, IMO. I will never forgive her for, when as President of WH Press Association, she threw Michelle Wolfe, a comedianne her organization hired, under the bus for slamming Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Seems like a lifetime ago, but Wolfe was correct in her assessment of the lies from TFG’s administration, and Talev was wrong for falling for the “women don’t pick on other women” / “both sides now” BS.

  15. Amy Bee says:

    But they’re still having a party in the middle of a pandemic. Not great.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yeah. I don’t think this is just a Republican thing here. They should not be doing that, period. Maybe they started planning back when we still had hope and I understand that, assuming things would be fine in August. But they needed to cancel/scale back/something, and they’re doing it.

  16. Haylie says:

    Sorry, but this story reads like Meghan Marie’s $500,009 baby shower and the many millions she supposedly spent on clothes while a working royal: total nonsense based on white resentment to get clicks. Axioms should be ashamed.

  17. Leah says:

    So it’s okay for Trump to have his loserpaloozas but when it comes to Bama, oh noes to a birthday party.

    The GOP hypocrisy, it burns.

    I can see the Obama’s changing the party not due to pressure from the opposing team but from Delta itself. Apparently there’s now a Delta Plus and a Lambda. Moving quickly through that Greek alphabet.

  18. Darla says:

    I’m wondering what are people here doing? I am really sincerely curious. Since being fully vaccinated I have been going out. And now for the summer, I have been going out several times weekly. Sometimes outdoors to see music, but I also eat indoors at restaurants and go to straight up bars at night. I did start wearing my mask again to go to stores, the salon, etc, because of Delta. But since I am in bars at night I sometimes wonder what I’m doing masking during the day? I do it anyway. Are you all staying inside now, basically on lock down again? Wearing a mask everywhere? Not going out to dinner inside? Are you going back to near full lockdown come late fall/winter? I am so lost since I thought it was over, and then came Delta and now I feel like people are saying, go back? But I don’t think I can do that again.

    Keep in mind if you are congratulating yourself, I had seen SOOO many tweets and posts last year and early this year pre-vax, of people saying they were so good and they are staying in for christmas or their bday.

    But their posts would say “we’re just doing dinner at home”.

    See, they were a “we”.

    Yeah.

    • Haylie says:

      I suspect a lot of people aren’t being 100% honest about their actions. I lost count of the number of friends who were being super safe, with their bubble of 20 people having get togethers in their tiny DC row houses. Then tested positive for coronavirus.

      But if provided the opportunity to finger wag at others, they’ll take it.

    • Kelly says:

      People are masking up more now with Delta. Flagstaff has had high numbers for a variety of reasons, but the overall response from restaurants, businesses and the residents has been to mask responsibly.

      • Haylie says:

        Meanwhile, Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs are a shitshow and Gov. Ducey banned mask mandates in schools. Some school districts aren’t even reporting Covid exposures to parents.

    • Eurydice says:

      I’m doing what I have always done. Going out to stores, if/when they are open, visiting family and friends who are all vaccinated, not eating in a restaurant indoors, not going to theaters or concerts (if there were any, which there aren’t) – always wearing a mask on public transportation and in stores, and wearing a mask outdoors when there are a lot of people crowding the streets (we’re getting more and more tourists). Pretty much all of my activities and meetings are on Zoom still, and will probably stay that way until at least December and some have been pushed to next spring.

      • Darla says:

        I went to the Van Gogh immersive experience in NYC last week, it’s completely indoors and everyone was masked. Everyone. I felt comfortable. I am thrilled that NYC instated a mandate beginning this month though. I registered for the NYS Excelsior pass it was so easy. Now i have my vaccination proof on my phone. I hope all of the state does that soon (maybe if Cuomo wasn’t so busy holding press conferences with powerpoint presentations of him touching and kissing a variety of well-known figures we would have it already), and I really hope it goes national. But I don’t think the administration will do it. I think they are backdooring it as much as they can via federal employee mandates, and federal contractor mandates, and encouraging large employers to do it.

    • AnnaC says:

      I live in Rhode Island, most of my relatives are Mass south shore, and for work I travel to Nj, Long Island, and most of MA. In the last week masking has increased in all those areas, anecdotally see many more masking up in MA and RI, but that can probably be attributed to my doing errands and social outings. In Trader Joe’s, it seemed like 80% of the customers had on masks, was in a CT Costco and more like 60%. Most surprising is the self serve food bars in MA Whole Foods stores are still open.

    • Jennifer says:

      I don’t know what to do any more. I have been going to karaoke bars I went to an outdoor theater show. I went out for a 4th of July outside concert.

      Now: wearing masks inside. Not going to the indoor-only karaoke bars. My regular karaoke bar is outside now and has mic condoms, wipes, etc. and I went last week with a mask on even if it was outside. I skipped returning to the place with the outside concerts. I canceled on the goodbye lunch I was going to have with my therapist because she just had a health incident (though ah, she’s going to a baseball game next week) and I don’t need to expose her to what I am doing.

      What’s really risky is I am supposed to be doing a theater show indoors this month and we’re now mask mandated, so that’ll be going on indoors. I’m wondering if the show is going to be shut down by the time it runs mid-month. I’d rather they try to move it outside since it’s a musical, but I don’t know if they have anywhere else to put shows on or could get access to an outdoor stage, plus there’s an orchestra. Compared to THAT, karaoke’s not even that bad.

      Basically, I’m the riskiest person you know. None of this is probably a good idea, but I’m super depressed without performing, so.

      • Darla says:

        I totally get it. I actually go to karaoke myself, almost every week. I meet a bunch of friends there, so I am doing some risky things but I’m not a performer. I can only imagine how depressed you would get not being able to do that thing you love.

    • Lionel says:

      Thanks for asking the question, Darla! I’m sincerely curious too. I’m in CA and had about two glorious weeks of feeling safe unmasked outdoors and OK indoors with small groups of vaccinated people. (I still masked at grocery stores etc., but felt more comfortable in such places.) And now I’m back to double-masking everywhere inside and being mostly unmasked but cautious outside. (I carry my mask and I’ll whip it on the second somebody gets too close.) But all of that is easy for me, the hardest part is figuring out what to allow my too-young-to-be-vaccinated kids to do now that their peers’ parents have lightened up and are inviting them to play dates and parties and sleepovers etc. (I always check to see if the parents are vaccinated, so for a week or two there it seemed OK, but now that we know vaccination makes little difference in transmissibility… 🤷‍♀️) My youngest kid’s best friend tested + two days ago and was in the ER yesterday, I assume it was the Delta but don’t know for sure, regardless it is very sobering.

      • Darla says:

        I hope your son’s friend is okay! God it’s all so scary, but I do feel it’s the worst for those with young children.

  19. HoofRat says:

    Maybe he can have a huge 61st birthday bash? With all the missed and postponed celebrations during the pandemic, I think we should be able to celebrate what we want, when we want. My extended family will be gathering (outdoors, vaccinated) for the first time since last summer. I plan to bring Easter eggs and heart-shaped cookies and will be getting the little kids to help decorate one of the trees in the back yard with candy canes. Can’t wait!

    • Ann says:

      I think with a strict vaccinated-only policy, social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer he should be able to. Sorry not sorry.

  20. Jennifer says:

    This wasn’t “unhinged GOP pressure.” This was a bad idea from the start.

  21. Eurydice says:

    Yeah, no. I’m in the blue-est part of the country and even here people didn’t think this was a good idea.

  22. Merricat says:

    It’s frustrating to have done your part by wearing the mask, getting the vaccination, and still be hemmed in because of the jackdogs that refuse to do a single thing. As a vaccinated person, I should be free to roam, but I can’t, because of them.

    • Darla says:

      Yes, it is very frustrating and I’m past being frustrated and now I am enraged.

      • Eurydice says:

        Me, too – and it’s making me even more suspicious and anti-social than I usually am. But I felt a bit of kinship the other day when I overheard a woman on her phone expressing how angry she is at all those who won’t get a vaccine. We rolled our eyes at each other over our masks and moved on.

      • Jennifer says:

        Seconded.

  23. Ladybug says:

    Obama is a private citizen. He is no longer president therefore he can do what he wants. Axios is not quite a right wing rag but it pays way more attention to whatever the Obama’s are doing then they do with say , the Bushes. We all know the reason why but I’m annoyed nonetheless. I wish people would let the Obama’s live in peace

    • Emmitt says:

      Obama is a public figure who regularly shares on his social media feeds what the general public needs to be doing as far as Covid protocol. He doesn’t get to hide behind “I’m a private citizen” when he decides he doesn’t need to follow the guidelines he’s been telling everyone else they need to follow.

      • Ladybug says:

        Honestly, what you wrote is racist garbage and I’m not having it. Yes, he is a public figure but he’s still a private citizen which means he doesn’t work for the U.S government. These two things are two separate concepts. Former President Bush and even Trump are also public figures but are private citizens all the same and you don’t see people nickel and diming everything they do. As plenty of other people have said on this site there are hundreds of people having weddings, taking their unvaccinated children on vacation, sending them to camp and school, and having large parties still in the midst of the last surge.

  24. Emmitt says:

    Obama throwing that party is the reason why COVID is still out here (not literally). Politicians and public figures (which while Obama is a private citizen, he is still a public figure) lecture the general public about wearing masks, social distancing and limiting gatherings.

    Then we see the same politicians and public figures throwing themselves large parties, where nobody is going to be masked or socially distanced or limited but the general public had to cancel/scale way down graduations, weddings, proms, etc. You’re telling us one thing but you yourself think you’re exempt from the rules you’re trying to impose on us. So people figure, if THEY aren’t following the rules, why should we?

    Not to mention even if all of the guests were vaccinated, some of the hired help/band may not be because maybe they lied about their status in order to get a paying gig. It only takes one person with Covid to spread it around to the others.

    Imagine the PR disaster if Obama’s 60th birthday party ended up being a super spreader event.

    The only party Obama needs to be throwing is staying in his house with Michelle and the girls and a sheet cake from the grocery store. Delay your celebrations just like everyone who is trying to follow the rules and be safe had to.

    • Haylie says:

      The right wing is literally out here telling people that Covid is a hoax and that they shouldn’t get vaccinated, but yep, let’s pin the pandemic on Obama.

      This is racist clownery at its finest.

    • Nyro says:

      “A sheet cake from the grocery store” for a former president. How to say it’s the black wealth that pisses you off without saying it’s the black wealth that’s pudding you off. Yeah, you’re a racist.

    • elle says:

      Would it be as big a PR disaster as the various and sundry Trump superspreader events that have occurred since the start of the pandemic? What about the T-dump rally that killed Herman Cain? No, MUCH MUCH worse, I’m sure. GTFOH.

  25. Anonymous says:

    @Hoofrat: Of course you and anyone else should be able to celebrate how you see fit. It’s a free country. My point was he probably had second thoughts with the Delta variant. He has access to all the information. He knows the risks, including to vaccinated people. I don’t think he scaled back because of Democrats or Republicans. He’s a private citizen and can do what he wants. It’s more likely he scaled back because of the risk factors. It was his choice. We are all tired of COVID but COVID is not tired of us.

  26. Traveler says:

    I just want to wish President Obama the happiest of birthdays and many, many more to come.

  27. Jen says:

    I think this was a wise decision that had little to do with the conservative criticism. I think they planned it months ago when the research showed this type of thing would be just fine and sensible, but now with the outbreak of breakthrough infections, it no longer was a good idea so they shifted their plans.

  28. Riverandtree says:

    Happy Birthday, President Obama!!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, we probably won’t beat the pandemic. Most pandemics have lasted three to five years. I hope this one ends sooner but it’s not looking like it. The US is not the only place affected by COVID. The whole world has it. Many countries don’t have the availability of vaccines we do. That will allow mutations to continue. As time passes the whole world population will be vaccinated, gotten sick or died. When that happens things get back to normal. Historically, it’s always worked out that way. All we can do is our part to mitigate the number of sick or dead. We can vaccinate, mask up and social distance but it is not feasible to stop living for five years. We each need to make the best decision for ourselves and our family. The CDC would probably urge people not to gather with 500 people but it’s a free country. Each in attendance will decide if they feel safe or not. Hopefully, those in attendance will be mindful of unvaccinated children. If they are in regular contact with them, hopefully they mask up in addition to being vaccinated. Wishing everyone good health.

  30. Molly Fulton says:

    I mean, is this a surprising turn of events? Surely the Obamas were expecting this hysteria at a time when it’s still dicey to throw a party. But I’d still take my vaccinated ass to Martha’s Vineyard if they asked.

  31. L4frimaire says:

    This whole story seems like projection and bitterness. It seems like a lot of this earlier info was made up. No one knows what the Obamas actually had planned, if over 400 people were really showing up, and who would be performing ( not Pearl Jam, like come on). Anyway, hope Barack Obama safely enjoys his big 6-0 as he sees fit , with whomever he likes,and has a great time doing it.

  32. SurvivalIsTheGame says:

    5 hearings on Barry’s Bday LOL! Respectfully, I don’t care for the headline. I think it’s more likely that President and First Lady Obama changed their plans because of the delta, delta-plus, and lambda variants that maga has unleashed upon our country as revenge for having a triple digit iqs and making them look stupid. I perceive the Obamas as people that lead by example, and by scaling back their event, they are modeling good behavior. I wouldn’t be surprised if even if their event plans hadn’t been put out there, they still would have made the same decision. Happy Birthday President Obama!!!!!

  33. Lala11_7 says:

    What I find FUNNY is that folks TRULY thought POTUS Obama would even PLAN to host A MASSIVE birthday party during a pandemic & an economic crisis for millions….just because AXIOS …who discredited themselves for me under Trump with their deplorable “both-sideism” said so….

    I FIND THAT HILARIOUS 😝😡🤣

  34. Tasha says:

    Pretty tone deaf, at the very least.

  35. Annie says:

    I hope it was always planned to be low key shindig because honestly I still judge people who are having large- over the top gatherings.

    I am a Covid tracker in Canada and vaccinated people are spreading Covid- ALOT. One large gathering that was a source of outbreak is Calagary Stampede and events held in association of it. Luckily, here lots of people of vaccinated (and so far less ICU/deaths) but it’s about helping those who can’t get the vaccine due to Heath/ect. So far only one of the cases I had to deal with was Delta variant but it spreads like wildfire vaccinated or not.

    honestly the US doesn’t have enough vaccinated people or appropriate responses and will easily be overwhelmed again so I’m glad he’s somewhat setting an example and having a smaller affair and outdoors

  36. Anonymous says:

    @Annie: Thanks for the work that you do.