When Obama was president he called them “fat cats,” but now he’s likely thanking them for a huge payday. Less than 100 days out of office, he has agreed to speak at a Wall Street conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, senior people at the firm confirmed to FOX Business.
Obama’s speaking fee will be $400,000, which is nearly twice as much as Hillary Clinton, his secretary of state, and the 2016 Democratic Party candidate, charged private businesses for such events, Fox Business reports.
Obama has agreed to speak at Cantor’s health care conference in September and will be the keynote luncheon speaker for one day during the event, people at the firm tell FOX Business. These people say Obama has signed the contract, but the company, a mid-sized New York-based investment bank, is waiting to coordinate with the former president before making a formal announcement.
These people add that Obama could ultimately back out of the arrangement depending on his schedule and other concerns such as adverse publicity.
A spokesman for the former president didn’t return a call for comment; a spokeswoman for Cantor said the firm is not in a position to comment just yet, but would not deny that Obama has agreed to speak to the firm and at the $400,000 fee.
News of Obama’s speaking deal with Cantor, which had yet to be reported, comes as the former president made on Monday his first public comments since leaving office after an extended vacation. In those comments to college students at the University of Chicago, the president spoke broadly about the need for public service and studiously avoided any mention of the current president, Republican Donald Trump, or how he intends to make a living now that he’s a private citizen.
It’s also likely to be a source of criticism against the former president given Obama’s record of attacks against Wall Street bankers for making huge salaries while average Americans were suffering from the ravages of the 2008 financial crisis. Obama, a progressive Democrat, spoke frequently about Wall Street greed during his eight years as president, and now he’s accepting a speaking fee from the industry he singled out as the main culprit of the banking collapse.