Elizabeth Warren Says She’s ‘Troubled’ By Reports Of Obama’s $400K Speaking Fee

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., addresses business leaders during a New England Council luncheon at a hotel, Monday, March 27, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/AP

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said Thursday that she is “troubled” by reports that former President Barack Obama agreed to speak for $400,000 at a conference run by an investment bank.

“I was troubled by that,” Warren said on SiriusXM show Alter Family Politics. “The influence of dollars on this place is what scares me. I think it ultimately threatens democracy.”

Fox Business reported Monday that Obama agreed to speak at an annual health care conference run by Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. for a fee of $400,000. The Financial Times confirmed on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the arrangement, that Obama agreed to give a keynote speech at the conference.

“These kinds of objections were raised about President Obama when he was running for office and he got a lot of support from people on Wall Street for his first campaign in 2008,” Obama’s former press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday morning on MSNBC, where he is a contributor. “But that didn’t in any way limit his ability to put in place the toughest reforms of Wall Street that we had seen in multiple generations.”

“I’ll translate,” Politico and Axios co-founder Jim VandeHei said. “They offered him $400,000, he’s taking it.”

“Capitalism,” Earnest said with a smile.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” anchor Stephanie Ruhle added.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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