3:59 PM PDT, August 3, 2021
Barack Obama is under fire over his plans to host a huge party for his 60th birthday at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. Though the event is set to be held outside, the recent surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant has some people criticizing the former president.
Nearly 700 people, including 475 guests and 200 waiters, caterers and staff are expected over the weekend at the Obamas’ sprawling Massachusetts estate. Among attendees expected at the star-studded event are Steven Spielberg, George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey.
When asked about it by a reporter at a White House press briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the event, “according to all the public reporting is outdoors and in a moderate zone,” adding that there are also “testing requirements and other steps they are taking.”
President Joe Biden won’t be attending the bash.
“He looks forward to catching up with former President Obama soon and properly welcoming him into the over 60 club,” a White House statement said.
Every one of the guests and catering staff at the party must have proof of vaccination and a negative test. The Obamas have also reportedly hired a “COVID coordinator,” whose job is to make sure that all safety protocols are strictly observed.
The Obamas’ $12 million mansion sits on 30 acres, so there’s plenty of space to spread out. Some neighbors are displaying banners wishing the former president a happy birthday.
But other island residents want the party cancelled, says Martha’s Vineyard Times reporter Brian Dowd.
“They just feel this is just too big an event to be having right now,” Dowd told Inside Edition.