If Barack and Michelle Obama were attempting to promote conspiracy theories about the still-unknown circumstances surrounding the death of the family’s personal chef in July, they could not be doing a worse job.
As reported by the Boston Herald on Tuesday, the office of the Massachusetts Medical Examiner officially ruled Tafari Campbell’s death an accidental drowning last week, but so little information has been released about the circumstances that First Amendment advocates and conservative critics are protesting.
And there is much to make even the most reasonable observers suspicious.
Campbell, 45, was discovered deceased on July 24, a day after he vanished while paddle boarding in Edgardtown Great Pond, close to the Obama compound on affluent Martha’s Vineyard.
BREAKING: Obama's personal chef Tafari Campbell's cause of death has been released after he was found dead outside of Obama's estate last month.
According to MA Office of Public Safety & Security spokesman Timothy McGuirk, Campbell's death has officially been ruled a drowning &… pic.twitter.com/kLqvLYhYtF
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) August 23, 2023
Clearly, this is a calamity for Campbell, as he left a widow and twin sons behind. However, drowning incidents occur daily, even in wealthy enclaves such as Martha’s Vineyard. In the end, the competition does not go to the fastest.
The story could be told in a day, causing a disturbance in the ebb and flow of the news cycle, but it would be left to the survivors’ friends and family to continue on with the essential business of living while the rest of the nation moved on.
Instead, it appears that a veil of secrecy has descended over the death, shrouding mundane details with an aura of mystique.
Officials have not yet disclosed the identity of the woman who was paddleboarding alongside Campbell. She was a fellow Obama staffer, and the Daily Mail reported last week that she was 26 years old, but beyond that, she is a mystery.
Due to Massachusetts law, his toxicology report, which would indicate whether narcotics or alcohol played a role in the death of a man whose body was discovered only 100 feet from shore, has not been disclosed.
If Campbell was intoxicated or had a medical condition that prevented him from saving his own life, the public has not been informed, and this is a significant concern.
Even those who cannot swim will struggle tremendously to stay alive, and a man who knows how to swim should have been able to swim 100 feet in the tranquil conditions required for paddle boarding.
And this mystery contributes to the notion that Campbell’s death was not a straightforward summertime tragedy in a resort area.
This is not conspiracy theory either.
Advocates for the First Amendment and media representatives told the Daily Mail that the authorities must come clean, for instance by disclosing the 911 call that the Daily Mail reported was made by a Secret Service agent to report the possible drowning.
“The 911 call absolutely should be released,” Robert Bertsche, general counsel of the New England Newspaper and Press Association, told the Daily Mail in an article published Thursday.
“So should the other details about the now-completed investigation by state or local authorities. That’s not merely the law – it’s a sound public practice …
“By refusing to disclose the investigation details, the police have spawned a cottage industry of rumor-making and malign speculation,” he said.
“It’s natural for members of the public to ask: ‘What do they have to hide?’”
It is especially natural under the circumstances, when every American who follows the news is aware that a drowning involving another prominent politician — for example, Donald Trump — would be front-page news across the nation.
Local, state, and federal authorities, as well as family and acquaintances of the departed, would be hounded, staked out, and harassed by the establishment media for any scrap of information, with cries about the public’s sacrosanct “right to know.”
Specifically, the identity of Campbell’s companion is of public interest. She reportedly witnessed the incident firsthand and attempted to contact Campbell for assistance. It shouldn’t be difficult to explain why she was unable to complete the task.
And before we start gripping our pearls about stoking rumors about the 45-year-old man paddle boarding with a woman half his age, there is nothing inherently improper about the situation.
And even if there were, this nation has experienced the presidency of Bill Clinton, with his infamous blue frock and even more infamous cigar. The constant degradation of human sexuality that has persisted throughout the 21st century followed. There’s a high chance that hanky panky by a chef — even the Obama chef — wouldn’t even make headlines, let alone cause a scandal.
So, what is it about this particular woman, at this particular time and place, that the Massachusetts authorities are evidently willing to stonewall the public in order to conceal her identity and role?
Every honest American knows that a death at Mar-a-Lago would have received extensive coverage, but the Campbell death has received negligible coverage. CNN devoted last week’s “accidental death” announcement one new paragraph and the remainder of the story to background information.
Most news organizations’ summer trainees perform more labor than that.
Tom Fitton, the president of the conservative investigative group Judicial Watch, stated that the American people have a right to more information, particularly regarding the woman who was with Campbell and the level of coordination between the Secret Service and local and state investigators.
(This is Massachusetts, remember, a state so liberal a Democratic heavyweight could practically get away with murder if he felt like it. Oh, wait …)
“It’s simple information. What’s the state secret about this other than to protect Obama, to protect him from embarrassment or having to answer questions on this,” Fitton said, according to the Daily Mail.
“This is why people do not believe what is said about cases like these.
“What otherwise looks to be a simple tragic accident becomes something else because the government withholds information improperly to protect a politician.”
Fairly, the Daily Mail noted that Bertsche stated that Massachusetts authorities are always too secretive when it comes to releasing information to the public — that it’s not just the Obamas.
In 2015, according to him, the Center for Public Integrity gave Massachusetts a “F” grade for public records, and in 2020, The Boston Globe successfully sued the state for failing to comply with public records law.
However, this does not absolve anyone in this situation; rather, it exacerbates the problem.
The possibility that a crime in South Boston may go undetected is significant to South Boston and possibly the entire city, but few Americans outside of New England would care.
Nonetheless, Democrats and the establishment media continue to view former President Barack Obama as a sort of messianic figure of the New Socialist Age, and his wife, Michelle, is still viewed as presidential material in some circles.
Massachusetts owes more money to the nation. The Obamas owe more to the country.
And when they refuse to pay, they force even the least conspiratorial American to wonder, “What do they have to hide?”