Michelle Obama has brought some levity to former President Barack’s controversial 60th birthday celebrations by posting a sweet tribute to the ‘wonderful father and husband’ – shortly after it was announced he had canceled his ‘tone deaf’ 500-person party amid furious backlash.
The 57-year-old former First Lady took to social media on Wednesday morning to share a sweet message for her husband, while also posting a never-before-seen photo of the couple posing with their daughters, Malia and Sasha.
While Barack and Michelle are seen smiling happily for the cameras in the snap, Malia, 23, is flashing a goofy thumbs up, while 20-year-old Sasha pouts furiously at the camera.
Posting the image on Twitter and Instagram, Michelle praised her husband for being such a ‘loving, present father’ to their two daughters, noting that his role as a parent ‘tops… all of his accomplishments’.
Tribute: Michelle Obama posted a gushing tribute to husband Barack on his 60th birthday on Wednesday, while sharing a fun photo of the couple with daughters Malia and Sasha
High praise: The 57-year-old former First Lady thanked her husband for being such a ‘present, loving father’ to their children
‘Of all of your accomplishments, I know that being a present, loving father to our girls tops them all,’ she wrote.
‘Thank you for never letting the weight of the world get in the way of being a wonderful husband and father. Happy 60th birthday, @BarackObama!’
Michelle’s public birthday tributes have become something of a ritual over the past several years, with the mother-of-two regularly marking special occasions by gushing about her husband on social media.
However her latest post comes as the couple was facing furious backlash over their plans to host a lavish 500-person soiree at their Martha’s Vineyard home this weekend in celebration of Barack’s milestone birthday.
After plans for the party were revealed, the couple came under heavy criticism, with many branding the even ‘tone deaf’ given the increasing number of cases of the Delta variant and the number of breakthrough cases among vaccinated people.
Amid ongoing public outcry, the Obamas’ spokesperson announced on Wednesday that he had canceled the event, and will instead celebrate his birthday with a much more low-key gathering of just a handful of his closest friends and family.
‘This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with COVID safeguards in place,’ spokesperson Hannah Hankins said in a statement on the change of plans.
Heartwarming: Michelle and Barack regularly share public tributes on special occasions, with the former First Lady posting this sweet photo of her husband and kids last Father’s Day
Levity: Her latest tribute to her husband comes after the couple (pictured in a post from last year) faced furious backlash over plans to host a 500-person party this weekend
‘Due to the new spread of the Delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends,’ the former president’s spokesperson continued.
‘President Obama is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.’
Obama turns 60 today and planned to celebrate the occasion over the weekend with hundreds of his former administration officials, celebrities and Democratic donors with a massive party on Martha’s Vineyard island off the coast of Massachusetts.
Many guests, according to The New York Times, were already en route to the island on the ferry from the mainland.
Among the 475 guests expected to attend the event this weekend were actor George Clooney, director Steven Spielberg and notorious talk show host Oprah Winfrey, the New York Post reported.
President Joe Biden never intended to go to the party, as he already had a beach trip planned to his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, which he is traveling to on Friday.
Instead of the big soiree, the former president will celebrate with only close friends and family at his 7,000-square-foot mansion in the Edgarton section of Martha’s Vineyard.
Uproar: As news of Obama’s party broke, some took to Twitter to call it irresponsible amid the resurgence in COVID cases – and on Wednesday, it was revealed he has cancled the event
Concern: COVID cases have been rising throughout the country as a result of the Delta variant
Statistics: Deaths, however, have continued on a downward trajectory
‘They’ve been concerned about the virus from the beginning, asking invited guests if they had been vaccinated, requesting that they get a test proximate to the event,’ David Axelrod, a former top Obama adviser, said, according to the Times.
‘But when this was planned, the situation was quite different,’ he added of the change. ‘So they responded to the changing circumstances.’
Before the scale back, the White House defended Obama’s plans on Monday.
‘I would note first that former President Obama has been a huge advocate of individuals getting vaccinated,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodged when asked about her former boss’ big birthday bash.
The party, according to multiple reports, was supposed to take place outdoors on the Obamas’ $12 million 30-acre Martha’s Vineyard waterfront mansion.
But as more plans became public this week, the former president came under fire for the tone deaf event as many areas of the country returned to pandemic restrictions, including mask mandates indoors.
There was also a ‘coronavirus coordinator’, who was making sure the event was compliant with the most recent CDC guidance. Guests were required to take coronavirus tests and submit their results to the medical ‘coronavirus coordinator’ to gain entry to the Obama compound.