How much money has Obama spent on those vacations and trips?

 In opinion, Politics

Obama’s vacations and trips have been a sore spot. With wildfires raging in the West, Louisiana trying to recover from floods, racial unrest across the country, and Obama on the golf course, it’s a complaint that has existed since he got into office.

Taxpayer money

As of the end of December 2015, McClatchy.com reported that he had spent OVER $70 million on vacations since he came into office. But that was just the tip of the iceberg, and didn’t include 2016. That’s your money.

As of July 15, 2016 Obama had spent over $79 Million. Much of the actual breakdown of his working trips is not available to the public due to “security” reasons, but we’ve made a stab at it for you.

Judicial Watch reported,

…We have new records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that Barack Obama and family had a busy 2015, vacationing on the American taxpayers’ dime.  

The unnecessary travel included an Obama Palm Springs golf trip in June, a trip to New York City in July and a family trip to Martha’s Vineyard in August – all of which cost taxpayers $3,115,688.70 in travel expenses alone.

The documents regarding the Obama travel expenses came in response to three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the first was filed on June 30, 2015, the second on July 23, 2015, and the third on August 24, 2015.

According to the Air Force records:

  • Obama’s June 20, 2015, golf outing to Palm Springs required 10.6 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $2,187,172.20.
  • Obama’s July 18, 2015, trip to New York City with his daughters required 1.5 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $309,505.50.
  • Obama’s August 7, 2015, family trip to Martha’s Vineyard required 3 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $619,011.

Judicial Watch sent FOIA requests to the Secret Service for information on the costs of security, but they have not responded. Judicial Watch finally had to file a court injunction to try and get the information, and that’s still pending.

The Average salary of a Secret Service agent is $43,964 – $74,891, and can go as high as a GL-13, which is over $100,000 per year.  Factoring in extra hours worked (LEAP funds- Law Enforcement Availability Pay), and any special skill sets, it can go up from there.

Screenshot via BuzzPo

The Entourage for international trips

According to the NTU Foundation, Presidential travel is highly expensive. The report stated that at least 200 Secret Service agents, and literally hundreds of government officials (up to 900) travel with the President when he takes off on an international trip.

When needed, they take a  fully equipped medical center and staff for emergencies. Military cargo planes go as well, for airlifting 56 support vehicles – including 14 limousines and 3 trucks tasked with carrying bulletproof glass for the President’s hotel windows. Then there’s those U.S. fighter jets for round the clock protection.

Adding to that is the booking of entire hotels for security control which can cost literally millions. “… for the President’s one night stay in Brisbane, Australia for the 2014 G-20 Summit, the U.S. delegation spent $1.7 million on 4,000 rooms at three different hotels.”

Up to his latest trip to Martha’s Vineyard in August, Obama had taken 125 trips. The President often uses his trips as working vacations, as most Presidents have done. Obama isn’t the only President to take a lot of time off, but he certainly has some extravagant tastes while he does it.

Extravagant Tastes

One example of their spending habits at Martha’s Vineyard where they are currently staying until Sunday: The Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark features 17 rooms, expansive water views of Vineyard Sound, an infinity pool, and a tennis-basketball court. It rents for a cool $50,000 a week.

When he’s not staying at the swankiest place around, he’s eating at local restaurants (some of which have steaks reasonably priced at just $64.)  or playing golf at Farm Neck Golf Club and the Vineyard Golf Club. Or spending time on the beach.

In January of 2015, the Obama’s came under fire for dining at Honolulu’s most expensive restaurant –  the Vintage Cave Honolulu-  one in which the membership is $500,000, and dinners are $300 per person and can take 3 hours to serve.  Honolulu Magazine reported that doesn’t include dessert, wine, or tip, and a dinner for two can run $1000 or more.

That “bad optic”

Suffice it to say that with the number of people in America that are unemployed, and have little money, this is totally obnoxious. It is truly “bad optics” for people who are in the heat of disasters such as Louisiana to see him spend that much money

Yes, the President gets updates on situations while he’s hanging out on the course. But seriously- how do people who have lost everything, their homes, their loved ones deal with a President with such extravagant tastes?

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