Cost of Obama's Trip to Mandela Funeral: $11.5 Million

Image: Cost of Obama's Trip to Mandela Funeral: $11.5 Million

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 10:19 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The cost of President Barack Obama's whirlwind trip to South Africa for Nelson Mandela's funeral exceeded $11 million — and that did not include the air fare.

The State Department estimates that ground transportation expenses alone for the president and his support staff were $8,286,194. The costs of Air Force One were not included in that figure.

The transportation contract included passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, buses, pickup trucks, box trucks, and "larger capacity vehicles," according to Justification and Approval documents revealed by the Weekly Standard

Two contracts were listed for the cost of lodging: one for $2,042,850 for an estimated "3,240 lodging room nights" and another for $1,190,573 for an estimated "2,490 lodging room nights," stretching from December 6, 2013 to January 20, 2014. One bill was for the Radisson Gaultrain hotel while another was for the Michelangelo Hotel.

It is not clear why so many nights were needed, and the documents did not disclose whether the transport costs included those for chauffeuring George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and other current and former government officials to the funeral.

The Daily News estimated that the president was only in the country for 13 hours before he jetted back to Washington with Bush and his wife Laura as passengers aboard Air Force One.

Although the ceremony was a tribute to the South African leader who successfully fought apartheid in the country, Obama raised eyebrows by shaking hands with Cuban President Raul Castro and posing for a selfie with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

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