Going on vacation when you’re president is tricky — and costly.
Judicial Watch just released a breakdown of what it cost taxpayers for part of the Obama family’s 2015 Hawaiian vacation, and the bill is a whopper.
As president, you can’t just grab the wife and kids and skip out of town to some flea bag hotel, no.
There’s a helicopter involved:Image Credit: Chris Kleponis/Getty Images
They hop onto Air Force One, which can cost up to $180,000 an hour to operate:Image Credit: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images
And then get in a cavalcade of black Suburbans:Image Credit: Cory Lum-Pool/Getty Images
When they get there, the Obamas rent a home that can cost as much as $10,000 per night:
The Washington Post reports that presidents must pay for their own food and lodging while on vacation:
Presidents pay for their own and their families’ lodging, food and incidentals while on vacation, which may be why they generally prefer to stay at properties they own, as guests of wealthy friends or at the official presidential retreat at Camp David.
But taxpayers pay for the extra costs of staffers who accompany the president:
But since presidential vacations are always working vacations, taxpayers cover what it takes to keep the commander in chief working. Lodging and meals are an extra cost, but taxpayers pay the salaries of White House staffers and Secret Service agents whether the president stays in Washington or not…
There are a lot of moving parts when you’re the president.
Records show that:
…[T]he U.S. Secret Service that show the agency spent $1.2 million on the trip.
Judicial Watch records show that the rooms were secured at several local hotels:
Although the vacation officially lasted from December 18, 2015, to January 3, 2016, the Secret Service rented several Kailua homes for 19 nights, starting from December 16. The total for the rentals, located near the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay was $245,993.12. According to bills obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Secret Service also paid for rooms at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club. The Secret Service also reserved rooms at the Moana Surfrider resort on Waikiki Beach, and the Ala Moana Hotel, which cost a total of $40,249.48 and $671,895.99, respectively.
The Secret Service paid hotel and lodging expenses at two separate resorts over the course of 19 nights on the island of Oahu.
The total taxpayer bill from 2015’s Christmas vacation? $4,823,206.88.
Of course, President Obama isn’t the first or last president to take vacation while in office, and it’s expected that presidents will want visit their home state.
In fact, the Washington Post reports that President George W. Bush took more more vacation days than President Obama.
Hundreds and hundreds of people…. Sure, the reporters who covered the president, but also dozens and dozens on his staff, 100 Secret Service agents, maybe more, and all of those city cops required whenever the president’s on the move in D.C.
Before Judicial Watch began getting details through Freedom of Information Act requests for the Air Force and Secret Service costs, taxpayers could look at Government Accountability Office reports about presidential travel and extrapolate the numbers.
Judicial Watch’s president, Tom Fitton, says the Secret Service and Air Force “are being abused by unnecessary travel.” He challenged incoming president Donald Trump to consider cutting “unnecessary presidential travel for fundraising and luxury vacations.”
Already, Trump has made one significant announcement about how he intends to cut taxpayers’ costs on presidential travel. After being criticized for first saying he’s putting the nix on a $4 billion contract with Boeing to develop new Air Force One planes, he has since stated that he will personally negotiate the contract with Boeing in order to arrive at a fair price for all.
Judicial Watch says the current president’s vacations so far have cost taxpayers $85 million dollars.