The Obama family’s $100 million trip to Africa is now arguably the most expensive presidential trip in history.
President Obama’s trip to Africa starting Wednesday is drawing criticism for its vast expense, estimated at up to $100 million, but presidential travel has become an easy target for critics over the years no matter who is in the White House.
President Bill Clinton was roundly criticized for making his own Africa trip in 1998. The cost of the visit, which was considered excessive at the time, was $42.7 million, according to the Government Accountability Office, and that tabulation didn’t include Secret Service expenses.
Clinton’s trip to Asia in 2000 was even more expensive, and Clinton was a lame duck then, only months away from leaving office. His Asia visit cost taxpayers $63.5 million. This included not only the expenses for operating Air Force One but for more than 60 other aircraft to transport U.S. personnel and equipment halfway around the world…
The dilemma for Obama is that today’s economically struggling Americans may not be as forgiving when their president incurs big costs for trips that include not only official business but also touristy junkets. Members of Congress and conservative commentators have already made these points, including Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.).
The main problem will be that if Obama looks self indulgent, he will lose credibility as a president who says he is in tune with Middle America.
Obama will be accompanied by his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha. Their trip to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania runs from Wednesday to July 3.