Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann has blasted the White House for what she calls “over-the-top” spending on President Obama’s upcoming trip to Asia.
Obama leaves Friday on a trip that begins in India and will also take him to Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. Reports are circulating that the president and his entourage of about 3,000 officials, business people, journalists, and security personnel will spend some $200 million a day during his 4-day visit to India, which would put the tab for the entire trip well over $1 billion.
“We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with the president before,” Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview that aired on Wednesday.
“And I think this is an example of the massive overspending that we’ve seen, not only just in the last two years, really in the last four.”
Britain’s Daily Mail reported that the trip will involve 40 aircraft and six armored cars, including a black Cadillac with its own communications center that will transport Obama during his visit to India, with planned stops in Mumbai and New Delhi.
Some 500 American security personnel have reportedly been in India for weeks preparing for the presidential visit.
There is even a report in India that the United States will move a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, into position to patrol the sea lanes off the coast of Mumbai during Obama’s stay.
Commenting on the reported costs of the trip, White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said: “Due to security concerns, we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs, but it’s safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated.”
But several sources including The Telegraph in Britain are reporting that security measures in India are so extensive that all coconuts on trees near Mumbai’s Gandhi museum, one of the sites Obama will visit, are being removed.
Falling coconuts injure or even kill people in India every year. “We told the authorities to remove the dry coconuts from trees near the building,” an official at the museum told the BBC. “Why take a chance?”
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