Oh, that Obama. He’s always off doing something cool! I wish I had as much green time, free time, holidays and a cool jet to fly me all over the place.
Wait, you say I am PAYING for these vacations? And going on NONE of them? Ok, now we have a MAJOR issue.
Washington Examiner reports:
The first family, Michelle Obama fresh from her annual Aspen ski vacation with her daughters, and President Obama back from a weekend of golf in sunny Palm Springs, Calif., have spent tens of millions in tax dollars to vacation, and they still have two more years to go, according to an accounting of their trips.
As the first lady readies for a trip to Japan and Cambodia this month, Secrets calculated that the first family has racked up 38 holidays, working vacations, and fun trips like a date night in New York.
They are on par to take at least 45 holidays before leaving office.
Costs are hard to pin down, and most come as a result of Freedom of Information Act suits from taxpayer watchdog Judicial Watch which pegged the Obama-Biden vacation tab at $40 million last year. That was before first lady and daughters took spring break in China, and the first family’s annual summer vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Christmas in Hawaii, and this year’s holidays.
For just a handful of trips, the Air Force and Department of Homeland Security have complied with the FOIA cases, but the costs of security, prepositioning of aircraft, staff housing and transportation and communications are typically not disclosed and are always covered by the government for every single president.
For example, Judicial Watch FOIA suits for just two vacations in 2013 produced flight costs of $5,250,624. But undisclosed are, for example, the costs of a trip to China last year by Michelle, her mom Marian Robinson and daughter Sasha and Malia.
“The Obamas are abusing the public trust and the taxpayers with unnecessary luxurious vacations and travel,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in releasing those details of flight charges to Martha’s Vineyard and Hawaii. “These staggering costs show why these documents were covered up and we had to sue in federal court to get them. Another transparency fail for the Obama gang.”
The White House argues that personal costs are covered by the first family, but critics say that those costs are a miniscule amount of any trip. And critics of stories like this one argue that presidents need to take breaks and their work never ends, even on holiday.
While former President George W. Bush took more vacation days than the estimated 175 by the Obamas, critics slap Obama because most of Bush’s vacations were taken at his ranch in Texas, not the lavish digs he prefers in places like Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. He has also criticized the rich.
CBS White House Reporter Mark Knoller, the unofficial presidential record keeper, calculates that the president has taken 22 vacation trips spanning all or part of 160 days.
Our number is adjusted to include separate trips by the first lady and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, as well as quick trips like their May 30, 2009 date night to New York City and last year’s trip to New York to attend the wedding of former personal chef Sam Kass.
What’s more, White House reporters told Secrets that some trips by the first lady and daughters are kept secret from the media, so a full accounting is difficult.
I’m all for kicking back and relaxing, but seriously, you signed up to lead the free world. What kind of free time did you really think you were going to have? (The answer is NONE in case you were wondering) Obama, I get that you’re almost done with your term, but could you maybe ACT like you’re working a little bit for the benefit of the rest of America? Thanks.
Written by Katie McGuire. Follow Katie on Twitter @GOPKatie
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