During his 8 years in office, the traveling done by former President Barack Obama cost U.S. citizens millions. However, instead of traveling primarily for work, like President Donald Trump, Obama was going on vacation. Up until recently, the exact cost of his travels was unknown.
However, it appears that Judicial Watch, a government watchdog organization, has obtained documents offering in-depth detail about Obama’s travel expenses. According to them, he cost taxpayers nearly $100 million to travel and go on vacation while president.
Earlier this year, Judicial Watch, citing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), asked the Secret Service and Air Force to hand over any records they had regarding how much it cost for Obama to travel while in office, which they did. In total, the former President cost taxpayers $99,714,527.82. What’s worse, it looks like millions were spent on vacations.
For example, in March 2014, it cost a total of $1,133,510.50 for him to stay at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. Specifically, during his trip, taxpayers had to pay $247,827.50 to the Secret Service, $182,120.33 for hotels, $65,707.17 for miscellaneous travel expenses, and $885,683 for the flight.
And in 2015, Michelle Obama’s trip to Aspen forced Americans to pay $47,109.28 for hotels, $3,559.42 for rental cars, $57,068.80 for the flight, and $14,138.70 for other travel expenses. Taxpayers also had to pay $64,807.41 to the Secret Service. In total, the trip cost $121,876.21.
Even after Trump officially won the 2016 election in November, Obama continued to cost taxpayers millions. In December, he made taxpayers pay $2,548,602 for a family Christmas trip to Honolulu.
These are just several examples highlighting just how much money Obama wasted on vacations as president. Unfortunately, the vacations he’s taken since leaving office, like his trips to Palm Springs and French Polynesia, are still costing taxpayers. This is due to the fact that he still has Secret Service agents protecting him when he travels. Because of this, Judicial Watch has made an additional request asking the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service for records detailing his travel expenses since leaving the White House. As of now, the government has yet to turn over any documents.
Despite the fact that Obama is still costing taxpayers money even though he no longer works for the government, many liberals are focused on Trump’s travel expenses. When told how much it costs to continue protecting the former president, they dismiss it by saying Trump is costing the taxpayers more. But that’s irrelevant. Regardless of whether or not Trump’s travel expenses end up being higher, it’s still true that Obama’s were too high. Trump costing the taxpayer more does not mean Obama is suddenly off the hook.
In order to fix this, President Trump needs to work with Congress to reform the way president’s travel. Doing so would save millions and prevent president’s like Obama from abusing their power. The money could instead go towards securing our country’s borders or upgrading our nation’s infrastructure.
Tom Fitton, the President of Judicial Watch, understands this and wants Trump to push for reform. “Judicial Watch estimates that the final costs of Obama’s unnecessary vacation and political travel will well exceed $100 million. President-elect Trump can immediately save taxpayers money by reforming presidential travel,” he reasoned.
Fitton also spoke out against those focusing on Trump’s travel expenses instead of Obama’s. “The Obamas’ notorious abuse of presidential travel perks wasted military resources and stressed the Secret Service,” he argued. “For eight long years, the Obamas spent our tax dollars for a lavish jet-setting lifestyle,” he continued, adding, “many in the media would only focus on President Trump’s travel, but Barack Obama continues to cost taxpayers with his luxury travel and we aim to get the facts.”
The left needs to stop making excuses for Obama’s conduct. While President, the vacations he went on cost the taxpayers millions. Although Trump has also traveled quite a bit, he’s been doing so to work and further the interests of the American people. The same cannot be said for many of Obama’s trips. Republicans need to stand up to this kind of abuse and pass legislation preventing it from happening in the future.