Former President Barack Obama on Friday criticized the claims of an anonymous New York Times op-ed, which said many staffers are “working diligently from within” to keep President Donald Trump from enacting damaging policies.
“That is not a check, I’m being serious here. That’s not how our democracy’s supposed to work,” Obama said while speaking at the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign. “These people aren’t elected. They aren’t accountable. They’re not doing us a service by actively promoting 90 percent of the crazy stuff that’s coming out of this White House and then saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’re preventing the other 10 percent.’ That’s not how things are supposed to work. This is not normal.”
The Times says the op-ed, published Wednesday, was written by a senior official in the Trump administration. A slew of officials working in the administration issued statements Thursday in which they denied authoring the piece. CNN reported Trump was closely monitoring the denials, according to a top White House official.
RELATED: How the Obama's spend their fortune
How the Obamas spend their fortune
How the Obamas spend their fortune
The Obamas entered the White House with a $1.3 million net worth back in 2008. It has since grown to an estimated $40 million.
From 2005 (when Obama joined the US Senate) to 2016, the Obamas earned a total of $20.5 million from his government salary, book royalties, investment income, and Michelle's income from her job at University of Chicago Hospitals before she became first lady.
The lion's share of their fortune came from books. Between 2005 and 2016, Obama earned $15.6 million in advances and royalties from his books "The Audacity of Hope" and "To Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters," and royalties for "Dreams From My Father," according to Forbes, which reviewed tax returns and financial documents.
Books aren't the Obamas' only foray into media. They recently signed a production deal with Netflix. While financial details haven't been released, The New York Times reported that previous similar deals were worth tens of millions of dollars.
All things considered, the Obamas could stand to earn as much as $242.5 million in their post-presidency life, according to estimates from American University. But here's how they've spent their fortune so far...
The Obamas think long-term when it comes to their money. In 2007, Obama purchased Bright Directions Age-Based Growth Plans, each worth between $50,000 and $100,000, to pay for Malia and Sasha's college education. Malia started at Harvard in Fall 2017.
The Obamas also made an investment in real estate. They needed a new place to live after leaving the White House, so they purchased an 8,200-square-foot mansion in Washington, DC, for $8.1 million after previously renting it.
In addition to their Washington, DC, residence the Obamas still own their home in Chicago's Hyde Park that they bought for $1.65 million in 2005. They took out a $1.3 million mortgage on the home. It's currently valued around $2.5 million.
The Obamas have also enjoyed several vacations since leaving the White House. They first headed to Southern California and eventually made their way to Necker Island, where Obama was spotted kitesurfing with Richard Branson.
Obama also visited his home state of Hawaii and the island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia, where he checked into luxury resort The Brando. A night there can cost anywhere from $3,034 to $4,318 for a one-bedroom villa.
The General Services Administration is required to provide a former president with enough money to cover travel and business expenses, so it's hard to say how much of their own money the Obamas spent on their vacations.
While Michelle has donned expensive designer wear like Naeem Khan and a Versace gown worth an estimated $12,000 for special events as first lady, she's also well-known for her casual, relatable style. She's often been spotted in affordable brands like J.Crew, Target, and Converse.
Not all aspects of their life are as lavish as their vacations. Michelle opts for a bag lunch, like turkey chili, over eating out, the former president's chief of staff told People. And she's a regular at Soul Cycle, which costs $36 a class or $900 for 30 classes.
During that time frame, they donated to charities for African-American causes, veterans, disaster relief, homelessness and housing, and disease. More than half of their donations went to organizations for children.
Obama donated all the post-tax profits from his children's book, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters," to provide scholarships for children of wounded and fallen soldiers. The donations totaled $392,000 between 2009 and 2015.