When the news emerged this week that Barack Obama was throwing himself a giant 60th birthday party on Martha’s Vineyard with a guest list reportedly approaching 500, it didn’t look great. Was it as bad as Donald Trump holding numerous super-spreader events sans masks or social distancing, at a time when vaccines weren’t available? Obviously not. As bad as the elected officials seemingly doing everything in their power to cause people to get infected with COVID-19? Again, no. Obama, a responsible individual who believes in science, was holding the party outdoors, asking guests to be vaccinated, and not allowing anyone to enter the property without proof of a negative test, submitted to a COVID coordinator overseeing the health aspect of the whole thing.
Still, as cases surge throughout the country thanks to the significantly more contagious delta variant, the whole thing didn’t seem like the best idea. And even though he was reportedly, per The New York Times, “eager to carry on with his plans, displaying what some Democrats supportive of Mr. Obama said they viewed as a casual disregard for the optics,” ultimately, the 44th president chose to reverse course, announcing on Wednesday that he and Michelle had “decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends.” He did this despite the fact that the party was months in the making and despite the fact that some guests had apparently already arrived on the island ahead of the bash. Because reasonable people are flexible and okay with admitting they were wrong. If this had been a certain other president’s birthday, he would no doubt thrown a colossal hissy fit and screamed at aides, “Nobody cancels my birthday party! Nobody!”
So, Obama scaled his back to just family and friends, the same rules about everyone needing to be vaccinated and COVID-free will presumably still apply, the planned shindig did not occur and no one got hurt. No muss, no fuss. Right? Wrong! Instead, Republicans are, at this very moment, shitting multiple bricks over the fact that Obama is having any birthday party, period. If it‘s not just him and Michelle, it’s apparently too much for conservatives, and even then they’d prefer he celebrate by himself in the garage with a pack of Ring Dings.
Appearing on Fox News this morning, Senator John Kennedy—who said in October that COVID-19 was “not nearly as lethal as the experts told us it was going to be”—insisted it’s not enough for Obama to scale back the party—he must cancel it altogether and have “a beer and a personal-pan pizza at home with his wife.”
He also claimed, entirely seriously, that “The single biggest thing that has undermined our efforts to make the American people understand we are in a fourth wave is President Obama’s decision to hold a birthday bash.“ The single biggest! Not the conservatives spreading vaccine misinformation, or the Republican governors claiming everything is hunky-dory as their states become the worst place in the country for COVID-19, but Obama’s decision to hold a birthday party, to which he has since disinvited hundreds of people. Guy doesn’t deserve gifts or Facebook well-wishes. In fact, he’s on a birthday time-out until he stops and thinks about what he’s done.