WASHINGTON—Returning to the private sector after eight years of service as presidential decoys, the White House’s team of surgically altered Barack Obama body doubles are reportedly struggling to find work since losing their jobs last month.
The two dozen former Secret Service agents, each of whom underwent highly invasive cosmetic procedures in 2009 to more convincingly pose as the 44th president, told reporters that there seem to be dishearteningly few opportunities in the current job market for near-perfect replicas of Barack Obama.
“Most businesses worry that their customers or employees will be distracted or unsettled by the sight of me, so I haven’t received any job offers yet,” said Obama double Andrew Weaver, who after seven rounds of facial reconstructive surgery and months studying his mannerisms is now completely indistinguishable from the former president. “Agreeing to let doctors file down my cheekbones and modulate my larynx was fantastic for my career in the short term, but I applied for a job with the Baltimore Police Department the other day, and they wouldn’t even consider me. It’s frustrating, because I have a lot to offer.”
“After all, I was the third-highest-ranking double for the president,” he added.
Sources said that many of the agents, some of whom had their shins broken and reset in order to ensure they stood at Obama’s precise height of 73 inches, have been forced by their difficult job searches to relocate well outside the D.C. area. And despite being trained to escape assassination attempts and withstand brutal interrogations, the Obama decoys said they are often immediately disqualified by employers for any position that requires face-to-face contact with another human being.
Several of the men lamented that health plans under the Affordable Care Act don’t cover elective cosmetic surgeries, leaving them with little hope of ever reversing the procedures, which reportedly also included forehead lifts and gene therapy designed to alter their skin pigmentation.
While the current White House has offered to rehire them, the Obama doubles said they did not want to undergo the series of extremely painful operations necessary to resemble President Donald Trump, only to find themselves jobless once more in four or, at most, eight years.
“Washing dishes isn’t glamorous, but it’s a steady job, so I consider myself one of the lucky ones,” said Allen O’Neal, now an employee of Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Lexington, KY, who sat in for the president during a visit to Saudi Arabia and met with an unwitting President Vladimir Putin in 2015. “I know a couple of the other guys managed to get jobs together at a car wash in Cincinnati, and they say it’s all right.”
“If I get tired of this place, I might be able to go work with them,” he added.
While acknowledging that there are a handful of opportunities for Obama impersonators to perform on the major cruise lines or throw out the first pitch at Single-A baseball games, the doubles said a non-compete clause in their old White House contracts strictly limits their ability to take on such engagements. One of the Obama lookalikes reportedly paid steep fines after he was caught charging six figures for unauthorized speeches he made to defense contractors and pharmaceutical companies.
“When I was first recruited into the program, it was a real career highlight, but now that I’m back on the job market, I’m having regrets,” said Jason Newburg, 55, who added that he has struggled with depression since leaving the job in which he conducted a joint press conference with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and hosted the 2013 NBA champion Miami Heat while the real president was in meetings with his national security team. “Things are looking up, though. I’m close to landing a job at a call center for a pretty decent-sized bank, and meanwhile, I’ve got a ribbon-cutting gig at a supermarket in Dallas next Saturday.”
“Plus, last week, the White House called me and asked if I could show up to a state funeral,” he added. “There’s no way I’m passing that up.”