Former president Barack Obama’s speech on climate change in Italy raised €3 million ($3.26m) in ticket sales for his personal foundation, according to a report from The Times.
Having travelled to Milan in a private jet, Obama settled into a presidential suite at the Park Hyatt hotel, costing roughly €8,400 a night. Meanwhile, his entourage of security occupied two separate floors across the hotel, while his security detail required a convoy of 14 cars, a helicopter, and 300 extra police.
The event, which attracted 3500 people paying €850 a ticket, raised nearly €3 million, all of which will go to the Obama Foundation dedicated to “renewal and global progress.”
“When it comes to climate change, the hour is almost upon us,” Obama told the summit, urging the world to “set aside our parochial differences” to create a better planet for the world’s children.
“If we seize the future, there is nothing that we cannot do … I do not believe that this planet is condemned to ever-rising temperatures,” Obama said. “I believe these are problems that were caused by man and can be solved by man.”
Obama’s visit to Italy forms part of a series of speeches in which he defends his record in office and attempts to undermine the policies of the Trump administration. In an acceptance speech after receiving the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” award, Obama urged lawmakers to show “political courage” to save his landmark healthcare bill known as the Affordable Care Act.
In April, Obama agreed to a $400,000 speaking fee to give a speech at the prominent Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald.
Responding to the news, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), widely tipped as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, said she was “troubled” by the revelation, adding that money is the “snake that slithers through Washington” that “ultimately undermines democracy.”