While the Obama Administration continues to complain about the sequester, they haven’t exactly been frugal during what is claimed to be tough budgetary times. Back in March, for example, reports surfaced that Vice President Joe Biden and his entourage spent extravagantly on the taxpayer dime during two-night trip to Paris in London.
That trend is continuing. The Washington Post reported yesterday that President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa will cost taxpayers anywhere between $60 million and $100 million:
Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency.
Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close.
Obama’s trip could cost the federal government $60 million to $100 million based on the costs of similar African trips in recent years, according to one person familiar with the journey, who was not authorized to speak for attribution. The Secret Service planning document, which was provided to The Post by a person who is concerned about the amount of resources necessary for the trip, does not specify costs.
Ensuring the security of the President is important and no one is going to say otherwise. But at the same time, if Washington is truly facing a budget crunch, maybe the White House should scale back trips like this.