Most American families could put together a pretty nice vacation for $36,185. After all, that’s well beyond half of the median household income of about $59,000.
A family of four could do an African safari or spend a couple of weeks touring Europe, or take a cruise that wouldn’t seem to end. Or that amount would make a nice down payment on an RV.
But that’s what taxpayers spent on vacations for Barack Obama and his family.
For eight full years.
The total of more than $105 million over Obama’s two terms comes out to about $25 per minute, or roughly 41 cents per second.
The details were released by the Washington watchdog Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch said it obtained travel records from the Secret Service in response to a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, lawsuit. It found that the known total of travel expenses for former Obama and his family to was $105,662,975.27.
The latest records show President Trump’s travel expenses total slightly over $4 million, Judicial Watch noted.
The FOIA lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The most recent additions to the Obama vacation tab were Michelle Obama’s trip to Morocco ($244,218.01); Michelle Obama’s trip to Liberia at $107,890; Michelle Obama’s trip to Spain for $166,062.48; Obama’s November 2016 appearance at a Clinton campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, for $271,467.71; his Los Angeles trip in October 2016 to appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for $195,855; and Michelle Obama’s October 2016 Clinton campaign rally appearance in North Carolina for $26,502.
There also was the family’s Martha’s Vineyard trip a year ago at a cost of $2,684,271.36, and the Secret Service expense of $1.8 million on the Obamas’ trip last Christmas to Honolulu.
Judicial Watch also said expenses related to President Trump’s travel have totaled $4,082,427.71, including his “Thank You Tour” last winter for $475,478 and his visits to Mar-a-Lago totaling $3.6 million.
Judicial Watch said it still is seeking more documentation about travel costs for both the Obamas and the Trump family.
“It is troubling to see such massive amounts of money paid out for trips that appear to have minimal value to the public interest,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And it is frustrating to have file multiple FOIA lawsuits and engage in long-running court battles to get basic information about the costs of presidential travel.”
WND reported in mid-2016, when the Obama tab was thought to be $80 million, that when Obama was a 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 statement came in an interview with New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. It was recorded in 2008 but apparently not published 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.”
Hear the interview:
But the Obama family routinely spent weeks in Hawaii over Christmas breaks, took golf trips to Palm Springs, family outings to New York and summer trips to Martha’s Vineyard.
Judicial Watch reported earlier: “In Palm Springs, Obama played golf at the plush, private golf course of Oracle billionaire Lawrence Joseph ‘Larry’ Ellison. The golf course is located on Ellison’s 249-acre Porcupine Creek estate, which features a golf club and course, a huge 18,400 square-foot main residence, eight guest houses, a pool, spa, gym and an amphitheater. It was Obama’s fifth golf outing to Palm Springs in the past two years. The West Coast trip reportedly included political fundraising and one speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.”
A New York trip was to allow Obama some time “hanging out with his girls,” according to an ABC report.
WND reported Malia Obama’s March 2012 spring-break vacation to Mexico cost taxpayers at least $115,000.
When the Obamas traveled, the taxpayers funded the security, staff housing and transportation, communications, aircraft and other travel expenses. Security costs also are an expense, but many of those costs are not revealed.
Prior to a presidential trip to sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, the Washington Post reported: “Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency. Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bullet-proof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close.
“One hundred [Secret Service] agents are needed as ‘post-standers’ – to man security checkpoints and borders around the president – in each of the first three cities he visits. Sixty-five are needed to meet up with Obama in Dar es Salaam. … In addition, 80 to 100 additional agents will be flown in to work rotating shifts, with round-the-clock coverage, for Obama’s and his family’s security details.”