The Obama Family’s Outrageous $100 Million Vacation

How can the president justify taking Sasha and Malia to Africa when so many Americans are struggling?

There’s been some news coverage recently of President Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa. The mainstream media, no less, has questioned the projected cost of the First Family’s vacation to the continent this month: Seems the estimate runs close to $100 million for one little summer getaway.

Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, claims that it’s a working vacation. The President will meet “with a wide array of leaders from government, business and civil society, including youth, to discuss our strategic partnership on bilateral and global issues.” Does that sound like gobbledygook to you? No names or agenda, just enough info to make it sound like the price tag is worth it.

So, why are Michelle and the girls tagging along if it’s not a family vacation? For the Tanzanian safari or the trip to Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner? Yup, that and a night in Dakar, two in Johannesburg, and another in Dar es Salaam.

Pretty exotic summer jaunt for Sasha and Malia. Not so much for Michelle: She’s been to South Africa and Botswana before, at a cost to the taxpayers of $424,000 — chump change compared with this outing. Pretty outrageous when you consider that most American taxpayers are still struggling mightily, college graduates are chronically unemployed, and the outlook for economic recovery continues to be tepid at best.

Here’s some silliness to digest: The average family of four could take a vacation to Disney World, stay in a great hotel onsite, enjoy access to all the theme parks and water parks, and eat like pigs for 91 years before they’d spend 100 million bucks. Or, a family of four could buy the best seats in Citizen’s Bank Park and enjoy no fewer than 3,858 years of home games. (Maybe long enough to see another World Series win!)

See how hard it is to get a sense of how insane this figure is? Especially in light of the hardships and cutbacks of the sequester. Consider $100 million on a vacation when this Obama brainchild has forced the cancellation of White House tours because they cost a paltry $18,000 a week but can still find dough for really important things like the chief of staff to the president’s dog ($102,000 per year). Or, even more tragically, consider the understaffed firefighting teams in Colorado working to contain devastating wildfires that have claimed the lives of five firefighters so far. The sequester has cut $50 million from the federal firefighting budget, which has led to 500 fewer firefighters in their ranks. Wait, make that 505.

Am I suggesting that Michelle grab a hose and a Slip ’N Slide and set them up in the backyard? Well, why not — it seems good enough for many hard-working folk in this country. And think of the message it would send — now wouldn’t that be presidential!

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  • JeffWest

    Are the Obamas covering their personal expenses, as they have with every single other trip they’ve taken as First Family? Or would that bit of vital information have spoiled your story?

    • Brian J. Umholtz

      That’s a drop in the bucket compared to $100M. Windows of the hotels are being replaced with bulletproof glass, etc.

  • JoAnn

    A. There is no freaking way its costing $100 million. Who are you, Michelle Bachman? It costs no more to put the kids on the plane than to leave them home. They still have the same security detail and even at home they’ve gotta eat. Get over this crap already. He’s the president, he needs to visit these countries and he loves his family, who don’t embarrass him in public.

    • Brandon Evans

      Are you blind or retarded? One you can’t imagine how much it cost. I really does cost that. The cost of paying the security team, fuel cost of the two planes and many air craft to get his vehicles over there, the fuel of those vehicles etc. Not only that, I don’t give a shit if it cost the man one penny of taxpayer dollars. The man should not be taking vacations like he does and using my damn money to do it. He is the worst president ever. No one presidents ever took vacations while in office. (Camp David hardly counts so don’t use that excuse.) I don’t know why I’m even bothering wasting my time writing this… you probably are on welfare and don’t even pay taxes so what the hell should you care.

      • JoAnn

        Has it ever occurred to you that this blogger is, like you, a partisan hack. These figures are insane. The President is NOT going to Africa on vacation, the family is NOT traveling on public money. As far as no President taking vacation, Bush was away from the White House more than he was working. Oh, and our assumption that I’m a welfare queen just make me laugh. I’m guessing I can probably buy and sell you a few times over. You may not like the president’s politics but please try to get facts right to spewing garbage. I would also suggest Ms Capriotti do the same.

      • Wow!!!

        Hahahahaha!! Because Bush never took vacations you inbred retard!

      • Tom Millar

        Bush43: 1020 vacation days
        Obama (so far): 128 vacation days

        Bill Clinton holds the record for the fewest vacation days (=out of the White House) among two-term presidents.

      • sidesplitter

        Why wouldn’t Camp David count? It’s time spent out of the White House.

    • HMMM

      Not sure about the exact costs but to say it costs no more is quite absurd.

    • Glen Ashcraft Jr.

      Ha!Michelle Bachman!How Priceless is that???!!!???

  • Geronimo

    The First Families have never been considered , the average family. With all the security it would cost about 10 times or more for the first family to take a vacation to Disney World or anywhere else the average family would take a vacation. No first Family that I know of in my 69 years has been “the average family” The Obamas are no more costly to maintain than the Reagans , G H W Bush Clinton or G W Bush. Quit whining about Obama , You never opened your mouth when G W Bush was doing the same.

    • Rhonda

      Most Bush vacations were spent at their homes…not traveling the world. Not to mention, this is happening during a period in which various departments within the federal government, military included, are being forced to reduce their work schedule which means a PAY REDUCTION for those same people. So rather than chastise those for “whining” about the Obamas, how about you take an objective look at the difference.

  • Shawn Michael Englerth

    I’m a registered D, and I am not much for Obama, but this story just stinks of spin-doctorism! On the surface this is all probably true, but if you dig deeper the 1-million also covers his security detail and their expenses. Quit reporting junk and give us some real news when it happens. Anytime a president goes to a foreign country (business or not) he is going to cost us a nice chunk of change – that’s just a plain and simple fact.

  • News Worker
    This was the actual story. It explains much of what this “reporter” left out, is concise, and puts the costs into perspective. Stop shoplifiting real journalists’ work please.

  • Allen Wing

    Beth thank you so much for this article, I am a high school English teacher and I was thinking of a creative way to teach my student fictitious writing, thank you so much for making my job a little easier, I hope this article lands you a job at Fox News, your total and blatant refusal to use facts, like this cute little fact that Bush and Clinton went on similar trips to Africa, and the trips cost the government 97 and 86 million dollars a piece, and Clinton brought his daughter and Gore’s children as well, is amazing. Here is another like fact, the President is bring roughly 100 secret service, an aircraft carrier and a small army with him according to the Washington Post article, but if you want to mention this fact in your next article you should say ” President Obama, our first African American President, is rolling to Africa, his homeland and possible birthplace, with a posse and they are loaded to the teeth with guns and drugs”, and then site a well placed source. I get it, Obama is black and we are suppose to hate, I understand….wait wait Beth, I just heard from a credible source that Obama is also taking Beyonce and Jay-z and their daughter. Obama stop spending 100 million dollars on a vacation and focus on spending 2 billion dollars a day on our 12 year war

    • retiredmillwright

      Allen there is mental help available here in America. Someone carrying as much hate and stress as you have needs to seek this help. Good luck and I hope you find peace.

    • Glen Ashcraft Jr.

      Excellent Allen just plain excellent!

  • Turk502

    “Or, a family of four could buy the best seats in Citizen’s Bank Park and enjoy no fewer than 3,858 years of home games.”
    For what a little perspective on what $100 million gets you these days, you could look out on the diamond at any given Philles game and see 9 baseball players who will make a combined $100 million this year for playing a child’s game. And none of them lead the free world.

  • Daniel Simpson

    Barrack Obama is working very very hard in destroying Amerika, so leave him alone he is doing a great job!

  • Kevin Archer

    My girlfriend and I are struggling to get her thru 20,000 in schooling and he does this??? Impeach him!!!

  • Timothy Rea

    These people have no shame. They don’t know how to blush. They are rubbing our noses in it.

  • Jerrie Hayley Klenk

    My biggest question to these Kool-Aid drinkers? How many governmental assistant programs do YOU benefit from?

    People that work for a living are having a struggle, we were raised right.. work for a living, not take governmental handouts! “Bama-phones”… He and his wife do NOT need another vacation. His wife and daughters just got back from vacation!

  • HMMM

    How can the president justify taking Sasha and Malia to Africa when so many Americans are struggling?
    Answer:He does not give a $#!%

  • Mark Cofta

    This lazy, hate-filled “journalism” and the ridiculous spew of nonsense it inspired are indicative of our culture’s Faux News-led disregard for the office of the president. What’s it doing in Philly Mag, though, a publication which claims some semblance of journalistic integrity? Beth Capriotti, a responsible writer would check the math, acknowledge that the First Family act as ambassadors whenever they travel, and also honestly compare this president’s travel with his predecessors. GW Bush took more vacation time than any president ever, and spent most of it diddling around on his ranch, not improving international relations. Most famously, he lounged in Crawford while ignoring 9/11/01 attack warnings. Funny, how attack dogs are unleashed on the Democratic president; where were you from 2001 to 2009?

  • Beth Capriotti

    Perhaps my message was lost. I am grateful to those of you that support my blog, whether you agree or disagree. Feedback and discourse are important and I am appreciative. Let me try to expound on my contention, and that is that the expense of this family vacation is news because it is taking place during a time of economic struggle for the American taxpayer. Did Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George Bush all take family vacations during their tenure? Absolutely, but it wasn’t news because the country wasn’t hurting, One could argue fairly that all three of those men played a great role in getting us to this recession but it is the current President’s job to act responsibly within the context of our current economic struggles. If Rupert Murdoch buys a yacht, his wife wouldn’t blink. It is not an issue of import or note. If the bank is hanging red tags on your door-knob and your husband goes out and buys a yacht, it is arrogant, deluded and cause for much resentment. Any clearer?

  • Alex Yamach

    Bush spent 1020 days on vacation during his 8 years in office. Almost 3 Full Years! More than any President since the 1920’s

    In 2005, Bush took the longest single vacation — 5 weeks — of any President in 36 years. President Bush spent 32% of his presidency on vacation.

    Of the 77 total “vacation” trips the former president made to his Texas ranch while in office, nine of them — all or part of 69 days — came during his first year as president in 2001. Bush made 25 trips — a total of 78 days — to Camp David in 2001. Holy 9/11!

    Bush spent 487 days at Camp David, 490 days at his Crawford ranch, and 43 days in Kennebunkport.

  • muslimmustgo

    All of you covering and protecting this POS you call a president,hope you enjoy the marxist state that he gives you in return for your BLIND loyalty!!!

  • James Antwerp

    Reading the Washington Post article im surprised the trip only cost about this much. With all the arrangements and deployments it would not have been insensible to think it cost more. And for good reasons. Beth Capriotti is Baloney.