Senator Barack Obama said in 2008 when running for president: “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.”
As of March 2016, the Golfer-in-Chief has played more than 285 times – and counting – and has taken numerous luxurious vacations during times of international crisis. So far the cost to American taxpayers is nearly $80 million dollars – to be exact, $79,630,433.93.
According to WND, the newest compilation of confirmed taxpayer expenses for presidential trips from Judicial Watch, which has been monitoring those costs since Obama moved into the White House and started disappearing to Hawaii for breaks, sending his kids to Mexico on spring breaks, and having his wife travel to Africa.
Judicial Watch said on Wednesday the newest information comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “revealing 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 it 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 ‘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 – brining the grand total to $2,684,145.60.”
“Taxpayers should be incensed that the Secret Service’s resources [are] wasted to provide security for endless golf excursions, political fundraisers, and luxury vacations,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “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 presidential trips and expenses have varied over the years, as have their number of “vacation” days, and Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, often spent time at his Texas ranch.
The costs there would have been significantly lower, he noted, because the Secret Service was dealing with one location over and over.
“The … thing that’s interesting is that normally when Bush the younger went on his vacations, he went to his ranch in Texas … so sort of a fixed site [with] a constrained set of costs,” he said. “They weren’t getting hotel rooms, moving multiple aircraft, fleets of cars. It was predictable, constrained. 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.
To Palm Springs in February 2015 for a meeting with other 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, as well as 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.
WND reported only months ago that when Obama was candidate in 2008, he told an interviewer that as the occupant of the Oval Office his vacations, his leisure, even his need for sleep, would be gone in a dedication to the American people that such a position requires.
The comment he made came during 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.”
Hear the interview:
Since then, the Obama family routinely has spent weeks in Hawaii over Christmas breaks, golf trips in Palm Springs, family outings to New York, summer vacations on Martha’s Vineyard and more.
The report then said, “President Obama evidently cares not one whit about the costs to beleaguered taxpayers of his personal and political travel. Why would any public servant think it appropriate to use an Air Force plane (and an army of law enforcement) to take his daughters sightseeing in New York? Barack Obama is enamored with the presidency’s trappings of power and taxpayers are left holding the tab.”
Read the full story at here.