I’ll be the one to say it: President Obama should not have canceled his big birthday party on account of COVID. According to news reports, all guests and staff would have been tested for COVID. It was requested that all attendees be vaccinated, and the event was to be held outdoors. There would have been indoor prep work done by staff, but restaurant workers do indoor prep work every day in every city in the country and in most of those restaurants, the guests are not tested prior to attending.
Vaccinated and/or tested people engaging in such relatively safe activities should live their lives. Canceling the party over concern about optics is just more COVID theater, and we have already had far too much COVID theater.
If the party had gone on, Obama would have been trolled by some Republicans, but that’s life. Some opportunistic ribbing isn’t going to hurt him. Some people who are more sincerely worried about COVID might argue that, by going on with the party, Obama is setting a bad example. To the contrary. By getting vaccinated and getting on with his life, Obama would have been setting exactly the right example.