It is the Christmas holiday season, which means that, for the eighth year in a row, President Barack Obama and his family are on an extended vacation in lovely Hawaii, largely at the expense of the American taxpayer.
According to The Washington Times, Obama’s eight Christmas vacations to Hawaii alone have cost taxpayers at least $35 million.
While the Obama family themselves reportedly pay the $5,000-10,000 per night rental fee for the multi-million-dollar mansion in which they spend their time relaxing, the taxpayers pick up virtually all other costs associated with the trips.
Those costs include such things as travel, food and lodging for the dozens of Secret Service agents, military personnel and government staffers who attend to their needs and keep them safe.
A recent report by Stars and Stripes reported that this latest Hawaii trip has cost taxpayers at least $3.5 million, though that estimate could rise.
When the costs associated with Obama’s many other vacations over the past eight years were added together, they totaled $85-90 million, though that figure also will most likely rise as well once more official records are released publicly.
Government watchdog group Judicial Watch has long been attempting to track down and document the cost to taxpayers of the Obamas’ vacations, and that effort remains ongoing through Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuits.
In fact, Judicial Watch just issued a news release increasing the estimated total to a whopping $97 million, based on new information obtained from both the Secret Service and the Air Force.
Of course, defenders of Obama’s vacations will often point out that former President George W. Bush spent more time on vacation than Obama has, which is true, as CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller, the authoritative recorder of all presidential activity, noted that Obama has been on 28 separate vacations for at least 217 days, while Bush had 88 vacations totaling 533 days.
Often left unsaid, however, is the fact that Bush’s trips were most often to his personal ranch in Texas or the Bush family home in Maine, typically at minimal expense to the taxpayer.
Obama’s vacations on the other hand are often to very different places requiring a full security contingent, advance teams and plenty of set-up to host the first family and all of their attendees.
It will be interesting to see what the actual final costs of Obama’s vacations really are, given that much remains unknown.
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