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PIERS MORGAN: Obama's birthday party is selfish, hypocritical and a terrible example to set

The biggest test in these hyper partisan days is to switch names on any breaking news story involving a politician and see if the same criticism still applies.

So, imagine for a moment that Donald Trump was throwing a massive birthday party for himself and 475 conservative friends in Martha’s Vineyard next weekend?

What do you think the reaction would be from liberals, given that America is currently in the grip of a very dangerous new phase of the coronavirus pandemic with the Delta variant of COVID that has seen infections rise 148% in the past two weeks and hospitalizations by 73%?

Particularly given President Biden’s new plea for vaccinated Americans to resume wearing masks in indoor places, and his warning to unvaccinated federal workers they’ll have to wear masks, socially distance, and restrict their travel if they refuse to have the shot?

I think we all know what Trump’s liberal critics would say: that it’s shamefully selfish, incredibly reckless, and a former President of the United States should be setting a better example to the American people at such a perilous time for the country.

And they would be right.

So, imagine for a moment that Donald Trump was throwing a massive birthday party for himself and 475 conservative friends in Martha’s Vineyard next weekend?

News of the party comes as US health chiefs have grown increasingly concerned about the Delta variant.

But it’s not President Trump who is having the party, it’s President Barack Obama.

He’s reportedly splashing out a small fortune on celebrating his 60th birthday next Saturday in spectacular style at his $12 million, 7000-square-foot waterfront Martha’s Vineyard mansion.

The 475 guests apparently include Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Steven Spielberg and Pearl Jam will perform for them all.

There will be a further 200 staff to cater to their every partying whim.

It’s said that a 'COVID coordinator' is being employed to ensure all proper protocols are being followed, but it remains unclear what proof of a negative COVID test, or a vaccine, is required, or whether guests will be required to wear masks.

News of the party comes as US health chiefs have grown increasingly concerned about the Delta variant.

The 475 guests apparently include Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Steven Spielberg and Pearl Jam will perform for them all.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN yesterday that COVID was ‘having a pretty big party in the middle of the country’ and suggested big actual parties should be avoided.

'If you're talking about a small party like I might have at my house for six or eight people who are all fully vaccinated,’ he said, ‘I do not believe, at this point, we need to put masks on to be next to each other. But if there were 100 people, how are you really going to be sure about people's vaccination status?'

Exactly.

Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard knees-up comes just a month after nearby Provincetown saw a surge in coronavirus cases from the July 4 holiday when 60,000 people crowded the area, many of whom were maskless.

Health officials weren’t overly concerned at the time because the community had one of the highest vaccination rates in the state.

But since then, scientists have traced 965 cases to the gatherings, 238 of them involving Provincetown residents. Though thankfully, only seven people were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

I was involved in a similar experience in London around the same time when UK health officials approved 60,000 spectators at the final of the European Championships football tournament.

‘Things are going to get worse,’ said the country’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci

We were all assured it was ‘COVID-safe’ because everyone would be required to produce evidence of vaccination or a negative test in the prior 48 hours.

But despite being fully vaccinated, I caught COVID that day, and so did many others. In fact, I know of at least 15 people who were infected, all of whom were vaccinated.

Like many of those, I’ve had quite a rough three weeks since then, certainly the worst I’ve felt from any illness in my lifetime – the post-viral fatigue is particularly debilitating - but none of us died or needed hospital treatment, proving, as all the data shows, that the vaccines work astoundingly well in preventing serious illness. I thank God that I got jabbed.

What the sequence of events also showed me is that no mass gathering is ‘COVID-safe’.

It only takes one infected person to turn big events into super-spreaders.

Obama will have nearly 700 people at his party in total, not to mention all the additional ancillary staff that come with his celebrity-fueled guestlist like drivers, bodyguards, make-up artists etc.

And we know the Delta variant is far more contagious than the original COVID.

If one person at the party turns out to have it, then inevitably many more will catch it and take it back to their homes, families, friends, and communities.

Frankly, the optics of this event couldn’t be worse for someone like Obama who’s always prided himself on take public health very seriously and leading by example.

In May, he posted a video of himself visiting a COVID vaccination center in Greenbelt, MD, and congratulating those there on ‘being good citizens.’

But there’s nothing ‘good citizen’ about hosting a weekend of self-congratulatory birthday celebrations for 700 people in the middle of a deadly new COVID surge.

I was involved in a similar experience in London around the same time when UK health officials approved 60,000 spectators at the final of the European Championships football tournament.

The biggest issue I have it is that it will simply be used, as it already is, by unvaccinated Americans as another excuse not to get the shot.

‘Talk about blatantly rubbing it in your face,’ commented someone below the DailyMail.com story about the party. ‘Every American should throw away their masks and get back to living their normal life. Stop complying!’

That same ‘one rule for them, another for rules for us’ sentiment is now exploding all over social media.

And it couldn’t come at a worse time.

‘Things are going to get worse,’ said the country’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci on “Face the Nation” yesterday about the Delta surge, ‘there will be pain and suffering.’

And he issued this plea to the tens of millions of unvaccinated Americans: ‘We’ve really got to get those people to change their minds, make it easy for them, convince them, do something to get them to be vaccinated, because they are the ones that are propagating this outbreak. We’re now dealing with a virus that has an extraordinary capability of spreading from person to person. So, when you superimpose one on the other, you have a very difficult situation, a pool of unvaccinated people and a virus that spreads very efficiently.’

Yet at the precise moment America’s most high-profile leaders should be setting a good example, Barack Obama is doing the complete opposite.

Axios reported he’s asked guests that in lieu of gifts they '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.'

A fine virtue-signaling gesture, doubtless designed to deflect criticism and make the liberal celebrity guests feel better about their complicity in this ill-advised event.

But if Obama really wants to support his fellow Americans, of any color, then he should be a good citizen and call off his party.

If he doesn’t, he will encourage many skeptical unvaccinated Americans to continue refusing to have the shot at the precise moment when it’s desperately important they have it.

Put bluntly: he will cost lives.

Cancel your party, Mr President. 

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