Tags: Obama | Africa | cost | Holding

Cost of Obama's African Trip Draws New Criticism

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 03:09 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Critics are outraged at the price tag of President Barack Obama's trip to Africa this month, which is slated to cost as much as $100 million in the midst of sequester-related budget cuts.

"For the cost of this trip to Africa, you could have 1,350 weeks of White House tours," said Republican Rep. George Holding of North Carolina, referring to one of programs that have been the victims of the government budget cuts.

"It is no secret that we need to rein in government spending, and the Obama administration has regularly and repeatedly shown a lack of judgment for when and where to make cuts. The American people have had enough of the frivolous and careless spending."

First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha are accompanying the president on the trip to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania between June 26 and July 3. Related costs will include fighter jets, Secret Service agents, a Navy ship with full trauma center, and planes bringing limousines and bulletproof glass for the hotels where the family will stay, The Washington Post reported.

The Obamas cancelled plans to go on a safari that would have added the expense of a sharp-shooting team to target wildlife that became a threat, reports Fox News.

The White House is defending the cost of the trip. "The infrastructure that accompanies the president’s travels is beyond our control," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

"When you travel to regions like Africa that don’t get a lot of presidential attention, you tend to have very long-standing and long-running impact from the visit."

Presidential trips are always expensive, mainly due to the security requirements that the Secret Service insists on. A Government Accountability Office report showed President Bill Clinton's 1998 trip to six nations in Africa cost at least $42.7 million, even without Secret Service costs.


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