President Obama, who famously suggested he would give up taking vacations if he was elected president, has spent nearly $80 million of taxpayer money on vacations, by far, a presidential record.
That’s according to the newest total compile by Judicial Watch, which has been monitoring those costs since Obama moved into the White House and started getting away to Hawaii, sending his kids to Mexico for spring break and his wife to Africa.
Judicial Watch said Wednesday the information from the Department of Homeland Security shows the Obama family’s August 2015 vacation on Martha’s Vineyard cost taxpayers $465,420.49 in Secret Service expenses alone.
“The records were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on November 24, 2015,” the organization reported. “Judicial Watch sued the Department of Homeland Security, of which the Secret Service is a part, because “the most transparent administration in history” had failed to respond to 19 FOIA requests from Judicial Watch since July 21, 2014.
The newly obtained records show Obama’s trip in July 2014 to Seattle and Los Angeles “solely for fund-raising, specifically to boost the treasuries of two liberal ‘super pacs’” cost taxpayers $237,731.04 for hotels, $19,888.70 for rental cars and $1,451.40 for air or rail travel.
“Judicial Watch previously reported that Air Force transportation expenses for this trip cost taxpayers $2,425,085.50 – bringing the grand total to $2,684,145.60.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said taxpayers “should be incensed that the Secret Service’s resources [are] wasted to provide security for endless golf excursions, political fundraisers, and luxury vacations.”
“President Obama’s travel is a scandal. It’s about his abuse of the office and his abuse of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.”
Chris Farrell, the director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch, told WND that expenses for personal trips have varied over the years, as have the number of “vacation” days.
Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, often spent vacation time at his Texas ranch.
“They weren’t getting hotel rooms, moving multiple aircraft, fleets of cars. It was predictable, constrained,” he said. “It was repetitive.”
The new details revealed by Judicial Watch include $1,604,380.50 for Obama’s Westchester, New York and Providence, Rhode Island, trip in August 2014, when the purpose “was for fundraising and attending the wedding of an MSNBC host.”
An August 2015 trip to Martha’s Vineyard, for the Obamas’ sixth family summer getaway to that location, cost more than $457,000 in hotels alone.
A trip to Palm Springs in February 2015 for a meeting with national leaders that featured golf, several Democratic fundraisers and filming of an episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” cost taxpayers $1,189,985.70.
A weekend getaway for the president and his daughters to New York and an appearance at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser cost $576,803.85.
“The current grand total of known Obama travel-related expenses now stands at $79,630,433.93,” Judicial Watch said.
When Obama was candidate in 2008, he told an interviewer that as the occupant of the Oval Office his vacations, his leisure and even his need for sleep would be sacrificed for the sake of the nation.
The comment came in an interview with New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. It was recorded in 2008 but apparently not published online until 2012.
In context, Obama said: “You have to understand that if you seek that office, you have to be prepared to give your life to it. Essentially the burden that any president, I think, strikes, with the American people is, um, you give me this office and in turn my, fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you.”
He continued: “The American people should have no patience for whatever is going through your head because you’ve got a job to do. How I think about it is, um, that you don’t make that decision unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice … that bargain.”
And he noted: “I think what’s difficult and important for somebody like myself, who has a wonderful forbearing wife, and two gorgeous young children, is that they end up having to make some of those sacrifices, too.”
He lied to us about Obamacare. You can’t keep your health plan or your doctor and costs are higher not lower. He lied about the stimulus. It turned into a slush fund for campaign contributors and did not lower unemployment. He lied about jobs. His policies have actually destroyed jobs instead of creating them. He lied about transparency. His administration illegally uses private email accounts to avoid disclosure. He meets with lobbyists outside the White House so that he doesn’t have to disclose the meetings. He used executive privilege to hide documents involving the murderous gun scandal pushed to support gun bans without congress. He lied about changing Washington. There is a greater partisan divide than ever. He recently admitted he hasn’t changed anything. In fact he has made things worse. He lied about healing race relations. His policies and campaign rhetoric have increased racism. Hope and change has become attack and envy. He lied about reducing the deficit. Instead he has had record trillion dollar plus deficits every four years accumulating more new national debt than all previous presidents combined. The only promise he kept was to bankrupt the coal industry and make electric rates “skyrocket.”