On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he would delay a vote on the GOP's highly divisive health care bill until after the July 4 recess. But as activists and lawmakers focused on this bill and its potential consequences, Fox News ran a story criticizing the Obamas' vacation in Bali. (Bustle has reached out to Fox News for comment.)
Amid reports that the Congressional Budget Office indicated that approximately 22 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026 under the new health care bill, many criticized Fox News for featuring on its website homepage an article claiming the Obamas were "under fire from the left" for their "ultra-luxury vacations." A story about President Trump inviting Senate Republicans to health care talks appeared on the homepage, too, but in much smaller type under an unrelated header.
The article about the Obamas cited two critics: Democratic strategist Pat Caddell and David Michael Smith of the Houston Socialist Movement. According to Caddell, who once advised former President Jimmy Carter, "these trips are like the lifestyles of the rich and famous."
Caddell went on to tell Fox News that the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party is "uneasy" to see former president Barack Obama take off on such vacations.
Fox News leading now with an attack on Obama's "lavish globetrotting"— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 27, 2017
(squint to see the health care story) pic.twitter.com/oeeZU4k206
Smith agreed with Caddell, saying that while Obama is not as wealthy or as conservative as other presidents, his lifestyle is still similar. "I am not surprised by Obama's several recent foreign vacations," Smith told Fox News. "As president, he disappointed millions of supporters who hoped he would be a strong advocate for working-class people."
By itself, the critique that Obama disappointed many working-class people is one that has been echoed by several people on the left, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In May, Sen. Warren said "President Obama, like many others in both parties, talk about a set of big national statistics that look shiny and great but increasingly have giant blind spots" — a stinging rebuke by one of the most prominent progressive lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
But critics have questioned Fox News' decision to focus on the Obamas' vacations, rather than on a bill that would quite tangibly affect millions of working-class people.
Lead story on homepage— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) June 27, 2017
MSNBC: Health bill delayed
CNN: Time not on GOP's side
Fox News: Obamas take vacations pic.twitter.com/qqGeWov40u
This is not the first time Fox News has scrutinized Obama's actions, post-presidency — in the same article, for example, Fox News criticized Obama's other vacations, to places such as Marlon Brando's private island and the Mid Pacific Country Club in Oahu.