Obama legacy: 6 years, 38 vacations, 219 golf rounds – $40M+
Michael F. Haverluck
When it comes to legacies for President Barack Obama as he passes the halfway point of his second term, visions of Obamacare, executive amnesty and Dr. James Dobson dubbing him as the “abortion president” come to mind. But less attention has been brought to his 38 vacations costing taxpayers more than $40 million … or to his 219 rounds of golf.
So far, the Obama family has tallied up 38 holidays, fun trips and working vacations (that have been recorded). Early last year, Judicial Watch estimated the Obamas’ excursions running a tab of $40 million — before figuring in Michelle Obama taking her daughters to spring break in China, a family summer vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, the first family’s 17-day Christmas on the Hawaiian Islands and holidays taken this year … and many other expenses, as well.
Overseas invasion force?
According to WND, the Obama family and staff cost taxpayers more than $4 million on their 17-day Hawaiian trip in 2013. Other media outlets show that the Hawaiian tourist industry must be great fans of the Obama family.
“Last year, because of emergency budget negotiations, the president made two roundtrips from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii, nearly doubling the cost of the vacation to more than $7.2 million,” the Hawaiian Reporter informed. “Obama is popular in Hawaii, however, there are people critical of the cost to taxpayers and the inconvenience the president’s presence causes [such as cancelling weddings at golf courses to accommodate Obama’s tee time].”
Corroborating such exorbitant presidential vacation spending, Judicial Watch divulged that nearly $2.2 million was spent on entertainment, lodging and security for the first family and its entourage during yet another 2013 trip to the Islands.
“During the 2013 Christmas break in Oahu, presidential security essentially took over the entire island,” WND reports. “In addition to concrete blockades and security patrols around Obama’s vacation quarters, his rental home was installed with bullet-proof glass, existing security systems were disabled, secure phone lines installed and his entourage brought in 20 to 30 vehicles. The Coast Guard enforced temporary exclusion zones in Kailua Bay, and armed Coast Guard dinghies patrolled the canal near the president’s rental home.”
On the other side of the world, no expense was spared for the Obamas, as well.
“Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania,” the Washington Post stated in a 2013 report prior to Obama’s African tour. “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.”
Many natives on the African continent during this 2013 excursion had reason to believe they were in for a military invasion.
“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,” the Post’s report continued. “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 …”
Even though some of the president’s trip costs can be explained away by mandatory security procedures, many other expenditures of the first family remain undisclosed.
“For just a handful of trips, the Air Force and Department of Homeland Security have complied with the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] cases, but the costs of security, prepositioning of aircraft, staff housing and transportation and communications are typically not disclosed and are always covered by the government for every single president,” Washington Examiner Secrets disclosed. “For example, Judicial Watch FOIA suits for just two vacations in 2013 produced flight costs of $5,250,624 … But undisclosed are, for example the costs of a trip to China last year by Michelle, her mom Marian Robinson and daughter[s] Sasha and Malia.”
While submitting expenses incurred for the Obamas’ flights to Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton argued that the Obama family’s excess is nothing short of extravagant, showing utmost disregard for taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars surrendered to the government.
“The Obamas are abusing the public trust and the taxpayers with unnecessary luxurious vacations and travel,” Fitton asserted. “These staggering costs show why these documents were covered up and we had to sue the federal court to get them. Another transparency fail for the Obama gang.”
Even though the Obamas are said to pick up certain expenses, they just don’t add up when looking at the total bill.
“The White House argues that personal costs are covered by the first family, but the critics say that those costs are a miniscule amount of any trip,” Washington Examiner Secrets reports. “And critics of stories like this one argue that presidents need to take breaks and their work never ends, even on holiday.”
Even though the media has often dinged former President George W. Bush for taking a greater number of vacations than the Obamas, which registered around 175, Obama has come under pressure because an overwhelming majority of the former president’s trips were briefly spent on his private Texas ranch. These are opposed to the Obamas regularly traveling to extravant accommodations at sought-after destinations, such as Martha’s Vineyard and the Hawaiian Islands, which are favorite annual vacation spots for the first family. These hot spots continue to be scheduled into Obama’s annual itinerary.
According to the unofficial presidential record keeper, CBS White House Reporter Mark Knoller, Obama embarked on 22 vacation trips within less than a 160-day period.
“Our number is adjusted to include separate trips by the first lady and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, as well as quick trips like their May 29, 2009, date night to New York City and last year’s trip to New York to attend the wedding of former personal chef Sam Kass,” Knoller explained to Washington Examiner Secrets, which also divulged that numerous trips taken by Michelle Obama and her daughter are kept in confidentiality and hard to track.