Despite concerns about rising COVID-19 infection rates, former President Barack Obama hosted a massive party in Massachusetts earlier this month to celebrate his 60th birthday.
Now, reports indicate that 74 individuals on the island of Martha’s Vineyard have subsequently tested positive for the virus.
“A little too early”
Of course, local health board spokesperson Maura Valley said it is “a little too early” to determine whether the dozens of cases could be attributed to the party.
Nevertheless, the former president was widely criticized by pundits on both sides of the aisle for inviting hundreds of guests to fly in for the event, not to mention his apparent disregard for COVID-19 restrictions imposed on ordinary Americans.
Leaked photos of the event revealed a tightly packed group of attendees, few of whom appeared to be wearing masks.
For their part, rapper Trap Beckham and his manager, T.J. Chapman, posted images of the party to social media before taking them down a short time later.
“Had to delete everything due to the rules,” Beckham later wrote.
“Danced the whole time”
He went on to describe the event, noting that the former president “danced the whole time,” adding: “Nobody ever seen Obama like this before.”
Singer Erykah Badu also posted a video clip that was later deleted, which showed her and Obama dancing near each other without masks.
Obama and others at the party attracted opprobrium for their behavior in light of updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends even fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask in public where the COVID-19 transmission rate remains high — including Martha’s Vineyard.
Conservative radio host weighed in on the perceived contrast between actions of the political elite and the restrictions faced by everyone else, tweeting: “You said goodbye to your dying mom over a Zoom call for the virus these people told you to worry about.”
While Obama did receive some backlash from the left, others in the media attempted to downplay or dismiss the entire ordeal. For her part, Annie Karni of The New York Times defended attendees because they were part of “a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd.”