(Washington Times) As President Obama prepares for a week-long stay in Africa, the goals of his trip — boosting economic partnerships and engagement with the U.S. and promoting democratic development in African nations — are in danger of being overshadowed.

In the days before his Wednesday departure, attention in Washington has focused instead on the costs of the three-nation trip, estimated to be as high as $100 million.

Calls for Mr. Obama’s arrest from the Muslim Lawyers Association in Johannesburg, South Africa, which objects to the administration’s drone program, also have become another sideshow.

But the White House on Friday vehemently defended the trip, which will last from June 26 through July 3 and will include stops in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.

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