At a speaking event on Thursday night, Barack Obama took his first shot at President Donald Trump since he was sworn into office by poking fun at his controversial Twitter habits. In response to a question about how he managed frustrating moments as president, Obama said that one of his strategies was avoiding Twitter.
The former president received a standing ovation when he entered the room at the A&E’s History Makers lunch event, hosted by the network’s CEO Nancy Dubuc, according to the New York Post.
While he was being interviewed by the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin before an audience consisting of A&E Network’s advertisers, Obama took a jab at Trump’s Twitter habits.
Barack Obama Disses President Trump Over Tweet Storms https://t.co/Iwfd8ee85Q
— TMZ (@TMZ) April 28, 2017
After noting that Lincoln used to handle frustrating moments by writing angry letters and putting them away in a desk, refusing to mail them, Kearns asked Obama how he was able to handle frustrating moments in the White House.
“For starters, by not having a Twitter account,” Obama answered, in an obvious reference to Trump’s much-criticized habit of airing his grievances and settling scores on Twitter.
Despite poking fun at Trump’s Twitter habits, Obama made no direct reference to Trump’s infamous March 4, 2017, tweets when Trump accused Obama of wiretapping phones in his Trump Tower office during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
“How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process,” Trump tweeted. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy.”
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
During Thursday’s 90-minute interview at The Pierre Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, NYC, Kearns asked Obama what he missed most about the White House. Obama said he missed sitting on the Truman balcony on warm summer nights and gazing at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
Obama also joked that since he left office he has not had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of a car and that he is learning again how to operate the coffee machine in his new Kalorama District home in Washington, D.C., according to the New York Post.
Barack’s wife, Michelle, 53, also spoke on Thursday, April 27, at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Florida.
Obama, 55, has kept a low profile since he left the White House in January, after two terms as president. He has spent most of his time since he and his family moved out of the White House on a post-presidency vacation, staying at exotic tropical resorts in the British Virgin Islands, Palm Springs, and Tahiti.
But following his reemergence in public after his post-presidency vacation, Barack has come under scrutiny after it was reported that he is receiving a hefty $400,000 for the A&E speaking engagement and that he has also agreed to be the keynote speaker at a health care conference sponsored by the Wall Street bank Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P.
The event is scheduled for September of 2017.
Barack Obama Disses Donald Trump's Tweeting Habit pic.twitter.com/sIV1nXlDd9
— Celebrity Tv (@Celebrity__Tv) April 28, 2017
ABC News confirmed Obama’s six-figure speaking fee for the event after it was reported by Fox Business.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has expressed concern about Obama’s speaking fees, saying she was “troubled” to learn about it.
“I was troubled by that,” Senator Warren, a vocal critic of Wall Street, said on Thursday, during an interview with Sirius XM’s Alter Family Politics program on Radio Andy.
Warren compared “money in politics” to a “snake that slithers through Washington.”
“One of the things I talk about [in my book This Fight is Our Fight] is the influence of money,” she said. “I describe it as a snake that slithers through Washington. And that it shows up in so many different ways here in Washington. People understand the money that goes into campaign contributions. And when I say ‘understand.’ I don’t mean they think it is okay, but at least people see it. The money that goes into hiring lobbyists, but it’s also the money that goes into bought-and-paid-for experts, the money that goes into think tanks that have these shadowy funders.”
But Obama’s apologists have often defended his apparent coziness with Wall Street by pointing out that although he received large campaign donations from Wall Street, he remained a critic of the institutions during his presidency and introduced policies designed to curb the excesses.
“I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat-cat bankers on Wall Street,” Obama said defiantly during an appearance on CBS’ 60 Minutes in 2009 amid the financial crisis.
Defending Obama’s decision to accept the fee, Obama’s spokesperson Eric Schulz insisted that despite the huge speaking fees, Obama will speak frankly and remain true to “his values, his vision, and his record.”
Schultz also said that besides speaking engagements, Obama would also spend his time writing his book and supervising his project to train a new generation of political leaders.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]