Valerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to President Obama, faced mockery online Tuesday after appealing to her Twitter followers to cut a $6 or $60 check for the Obama Presidential Center in honor of the 44th president’s birthday.
“My dear friend @BarackObama is turning 60 tomorrow,” she posted. “For his birthday gift, I’m asking you to chip in $6 or $60 to help us bring the Obama Presidential Center to life in Chicago.”
A similar tweet would often go unnoticed, especially since Jarrett is the president of the Obama Foundation. But given that the former president is reportedly planning a birthday party critics say would make Jay Gatsby blush – 475 guests, 200 staffers all squeezed together on his $11.75 million estate sprawling over 29 idyllic acres of Martha’s Vineyard — the tweet was seen by some as tone-deaf.
“IDK what’s more craven here, Obama’s staggering post-presidential net worth or the fact Valerie Jarrett is making a fundraising appeal for her “dear friend” when she’s actually the current president of the Obama Foundation,” Zoe Samudzi, a writer, tweeted.
The sheer size of the birthday bash has been scrutinized because COVID-19 infections are on the rise in the U.S. due to the Delta variant, and many Americans are struggling to make ends meet.
Obama has pushed to build the center in Jackson Park in Chicago’s South Side. The Associated Press reported that construction for the $500 million project has been delayed because of a federal review needed in the historic parkland. The center has already received over $1 million in donations from Boeing, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft Corporation.
The Obama Foundation did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
Jarrett and Obama have said that the center is intended to bring jobs and revitalize the area. They face some legal challenges but hope to get the project started in the fall.
Axios reported that the birthday bash “will be held outdoors, all guests are asked to be vaccinated and invitees have been told there will be a COVID-coordinator to ensure all proper protocols are followed.”
Additionally, instead of giving Obama gifts, “guests are being asked to consider giving to programs that work to support boys and young men of color and their families here at home in the United States, empower adolescent girls around the world, and equip the next generation of emerging community leaders.”
Fox News’ Julius Young and the Associated Press contributed to this report