WASHINGTON – It’s one of the most stunning contradictions of the Obama presidency.
As a candidate in 2008, then Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., vowed he would give up vacations if elected president, in order to completely focus on his job.
Fast-forward to the present, and it is now projected Obama will have spent more than $100 million in taxpayer funds on vacations during his eight years as president.
That’s the astounding estimate provided Thursday to WND by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, which has been keeping track of the costs of Obama’s numerous and lavish vacations since he took office.
Judicial Watch announced it had “received new documents from both the Secret Service and the Air Force relating to Obama travel expenses, bringing the known total over the past eight years to $96,938,882.51.”
The group obtained the information from the government by filing two separate Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, lawsuits for Secret Service costs related to Obama’s travel.
“The Obamas notorious abuse of presidential travel perks wasted military resources and stressed the Secret Service,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch estimates that the final costs of Obama’s unnecessary vacation and political travel will well exceed $100 million.”
Fitton added, “President-elect Trump can immediately save taxpayers money by reforming presidential travel.”
WND reported that when Obama was candidate in 2008, he told an interviewer that as the occupant of the Oval Office his vacations, his leisure and even his need for sleep would be sacrificed for the sake of the nation.
The comment came in an interview with New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. It was recorded in 2008 but apparently not published online until 2012.
In context, Obama said: “You have to understand that if you seek that office, you have to be prepared to give your life to it. Essentially the burden that any president, I think, strikes, with the American people is, um, you give me this office and in turn my, fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you.”
He continued: “The American people should have no patience for whatever is going through your head because you’ve got a job to do. How I think about it is, um, that you don’t make that decision unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice … that bargain.”
And he noted: “I think what’s difficult and important for somebody like myself, who has a wonderful forbearing wife, and two gorgeous young children, is that they end up having to make some of those sacrifices, too.”
Judicial Watch also included an itemization of a number of Obama’s trips:
- Secret Service records reveal that Barack Obama’s April 22, 2015, Earth Day trip to give a global warming speech in the Florida Everglades cost taxpayers $145,752.36, which brings the total cost of the trip to at least $1,012,367.76.
- The Secret Service records for Obama’s October 2015 fundraising travel to San Diego reveal expenses totaling $180,187.09. Including the U.S. Air Force expenses, the total cost of Obama’s San Diego trip was at least $2,181,655.99.
- Michelle Obama’s February 2016 ski trip to Aspen with her daughters cost taxpayers a total of $222,875.58. The Secret Service expenses were $165,806.78. Judicial Watch previously obtained records from the Air Force revealing that Michelle Obama’s weekend trip to Aspen, Colorado, last year cost American taxpayers $57,068.80 in travel expenses alone for the 7.4-hour round-trip flight.
- Judicial Watch obtained records from the U.S. Air Force and the Secret Service revealing that Barack Obama’s trip to Cuba and Argentina in March 2016 cost taxpayers $7,146,015.18 in Secret Service and Air Force travel expenses.
- Air Force records regarding Michelle Obama’s trip to Morocco, Spain and Liberia with her daughters in June 2016 revealed $450,026.40 in flight expenses alone. A C-32A was flown for 28.4 hours.
- Judicial Watch recently obtained Air Force records which reveal that the Obama’s August 2016 vacation to Martha’s Vineyard cost taxpayers $450,295 in flight expenses alone.
- Judicial Watch also recently obtained records from the Air Force showing that in July 2016 taxpayers paid $360,236 for Hillary Clinton to accompany Obama on Air Force One for a campaign trip to North Carolina.
- Also, in October 2016, Michelle Obama joined Hillary Clinton in North Carolina for a rally reportedly to “encourage early voting in North Carolina.” Documents regarding this trip have been requested but have not yet been received. The first lady typically flies in a C-32A, so the 1.8 hour flight can safely be estimated to have cost taxpayers $28,522.80.