As the first family enjoys their 29th, and last, vacation on the taxpayer dime, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight just how much money the Obama's have spent on expensive golf resorts, exclusive beach villas and African safaris over the past 8 years. Per a study conducted by Judicial Watch, taxpayers will have spent nearly $90 million on vacations for the first family after their current, annual trip to Hawaii wraps up on January 2nd.
Of course, with each trip to Obama's home state costing $3 - $4 million a pop, it's not difficult to see how the costs add up quickly. As McClatchy points out, the cost of Air Force One, fighter jet escorts, helicopters, cargo planes, secret service advance teams, etc. can get costly.
The cost of Air Force One and other government planes as well as helicopters, cargo planes, armored cars, Secret Service protection and advance, communications and medical staff has led Judicial Watch to push for less personal travel.
“The Secret Service and the Air Force are being abused by unnecessary travel,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said. “Unnecessary presidential travel for fundraising and luxury vacations on the taxpayers’ dime would be a good target for reform for the incoming Trump administration.”
But we don't fault him, all that time spent fundraising and signing executive orders is really exhausting.
To put things into perspective, the Obama's took a total of 29 vacations over their eight years in the White House spanning 228 days. At an aggregate cost of $90 million, that equates to roughly $400,000 per day or $3.1 million per trip. As a side note, the aggregate vacation time implies that Obama spent nearly 63% of one of his eight years in office, on vacation.
Of course, none of the vacation expenditures above capture the money spent on Obama's fundraising trips to fill the coffers of the DNC and/or to campaign for Hillary Clinton.
Judicial Watch has been trying to calculate the price tag of Obama personal trips for years through public records requests. It recently received records on Obama’s trips to New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Palm City, Florida, in 2014 and 2015 in which he raised money, campaigned and golfed. The group says the cost was $286,000 solely for Secret Service travel and accommodations.
Some trips included the entire family, while others included one other member. Most trips of the first lady and daughters are not publicized and remain unknown. But Judicial Watch has received some records about some of those trips, including the family’s trip to New York and first lady Michelle Obama’s ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, as well as several of Barack Obama’s golf outings.
And while Obama's proponents often site George W. Bush's vacation days in defense of the current first family, they tend to omit the fact that the majority of Bush's vacations were to his home in Texas or his family's home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
By comparison, President George W. Bush made 77 visits to his Texas ranch spanning all or part of 490 days, and 11 visits to his family’s home in Kennebunkport, Maine, spanning all or part of 43 days, according to Knoller.
Dear President-elect Trump, we think we've found another ~$90mm-ish you can cut from future budgets.