To be fair, no one expects the president of the United States to work 24/7/365–though it most certainly is a 24-hour job–without taking a break sometimes. In fact, most reasonable people would encourage a president and his family to take a step away from the trappings of Washington, D.C., and its incessant narcissism, tedious politics and boorish arrogance.
But at the same time, considering they are footing the bill, most taxpayers would also appreciate a little frugalness, especially in an age of budget-busting deficits and a $20 trillion national debt.
Yet, frugal is not how the Obama’s do vacations. In fact, as reported by McClatchy Papers, the Obama’s spent more money on vacations than previous presidents–and likely much more than President-elect Trump will spend:
As America’s first family enjoys its eighth and final vacation in Hawaii, new estimates put the price tag of the Obamas’ annual trip at $3.5 million or more.
In total, the cost of the the first family’s personal or largely personal travel during the last eight years comes to $85 million – though that is likely to climb to $90 million after additional records are released, according to the conservative group Judicial Watch based on federal government records.
The cost of Air Force One and other government planes as well as helicopters, cargo planes, armored cars, Secret Service protection and advance, communications and medical staff has led Judicial Watch to push for less personal travel.
“The Secret Service and the Air Force are being abused by unnecessary travel,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said. “Unnecessary presidential travel for fundraising and luxury vacations on the taxpayers’ dime would be a good target for reform for the incoming Trump administration.”
Critics of Obama’s lavish vacations say that President George W. Bush likely saved the taxpayers some money because he would vacation at his own 1,600-acre ranch in Texas. Granted, it, too, had to be modified in order to accommodate Air Force One pilots, Secret Service agents, personal staff and so forth. But most of those were one-time expenses.
Trump has been vacationing at his own properties and is expected to continue to do so throughout his presidency. As McClatchy noted, he spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at his properties in Florida and New Jersey, respectively.
Bush actually flew home to Crawford, Texas, more times than Obama has taken vacation days, most of them to Hawaii.
That said, in an age where government austerity should be the order of the day, the last couple of presidents certainly haven’t minded spending more of your money so they could get away.