A new report revealed that Barack and Michelle were staying on the property when their personal chef Tafari Campbell drowned while paddleboarding. But that is not what was said by spokespeople for the Obamas after the shocking incident became public.
Initially, the Obamas’ office said they were not home. Their office later clarified saying they were on the island but not at the residence when Campbell drowned.
Campbell had taken swimming lessons as recently as 2019 and can be seen in social media posts swimming well enough to not drown in 8 feet of water.
Tafari’s wife Sherise released the following statement: “My heart is broken. My life and our family’s life is forever changed. Please pray for me and our families as I deal with the loss of my husband.”
“Mr. Campbell was employed by former President Obama and was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his passing,” state police said in a release. “President and Mrs. Obama were not present at the residence at the time of the accident.”
The Obamas released a statement that said: “Tafari was a beloved part of our family.
“When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House – creative and passionate about food, and its ability to bring people together.
“In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter.
“That’s why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed. He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone.”
“Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari – especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin – in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”
Massachusetts State Police said: “Shortly before 10 AM the body of the missing paddle boarder was recovered from Edgartown Great Pond by Massachusetts State Police divers.
“MSP Underwater Recovery Unit divers made the recovery after the victim’s body was located by a Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers deploying side-scan sonar from a boat.
“As previously noted, the victim is a 43-year-old male.
“His name is not being released at this time; we expect to release his name later today.
“The recovery was made approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about eight feet.
“The investigation into the fatality is being conducted by the State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police.’
An earlier 911 call and dispatch address for the ‘possible drowning’ of an African American male came from Barack Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard home.
Witnesses told the police the man went underwater, popped up, struggled to stay afloat, before going down again around 7.46pm.
.@BarackObama has released stmt on passing of Tafari Campbell. He was employed by former President Obama and was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his passing. President and Mrs. Obama were not present at the residence at the time of the accident. @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/ghp1vCcS11
— Josh Cradduck (@JoshNBCTV) July 24, 2023