American Elephants

The Obamas Take Advantage of All the Perks of the Office! by The Elephant's Child

From June 27 to July 3, 2013, the Obama family enjoyed a week-long family vacation to sub-Saharan Africa on the taxpayer’s dime.  Dime? Not exactly. The bill for lodging, entertainment and security expenses came to $2,189,727.60,  The records came from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed with the U.S. Secret Service on July 3, 2013.

According to the Department of Homeland Security documents:

—Secret Service hotel accommodations for the seven-day trip cost $953,788.18
—Although the Obama family’s safari in Tanzania was canceled shortly before the Obama’s departure for Africa, the Secret Service preparations for the canceled safari still cost $11,525.75. The Obamas were persuaded that the safari would really look bad.

During their week in Africa, the Obamas visited three countries: Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. According to reports in the Washington Post, in the days before the trip, “One hundred [Secret Service] agents are needed as ‘post-standers’ —to man security checkpoints and borders around the president—in each of the fist thee 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 and his family’s security details…”

In March 2014, Judicial Watch released flight expense records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force, revealing that the Obama family also incurred flight expenses of $8,104,224. for flights to, from, and around Africa during the week-long June-July 2013 trip. The trip totaled 35.5 hours at $228,288 an hour. The records came from a FOIA request. According to numerous press accounts the total cost of the Obama family week-long trip was estimated to have cost between $60 million and $100 million, for one week!

Oddly enough this was just at the time when the president was shutting down White House tours and blaming it on the sequester.

As of March 7, 1014, President Obama had played 163 founds of golf. He is aware of the optics in an election year, and although he had averaged 30 rounds a year, in 2012 he cut back to 19.

However, the February 2014 golf trip to Palm Springs and March 2014 golf trip to Key Largo, Florida cost the taxpayers $2,952,278. for flight expenses alone.

The Africa tri was the most expensive, but the Honolulu vacation cost the taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone. Michelle Obama’s side trip to Dublin, Ireland during the 2013 G-8 conference in Belfast, where she and her entourage booked 30 rooms at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel, with the first lady staying in the 1500-square-foot Princess Grace suite at a cost of $3,500 a night. The Obamas trip to Ireland cost a total of $7,921,638.66.

Clearly, the Obamas abuse the perks of the Office of the Presidency. Obama himself seems tone-deaf to the crassness of railing about income inequality and bellyaching about the sequester as he is leaving for another vacation. The idea that we are borrowing money from China for this excess is deeply offensive. In the style of the best executive expense-accounts the administration is apt to claim attendance at an important meeting about, say California’s water crisis, to cover for several rounds of golf at the most exclusive courses.

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