Although President Barack Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia will only last for a few hours, the brief stay will cost taxpayers $267,787 in hotel and SUV rentals, reports The Washington Free Beacon.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama were scheduled to arrive in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, shortly before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, then meet with King Salman. After their discussion, Obama is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting, have dinner and depart by 11:30 a.m., according to the president's schedule posted on the White House website.
According to records obtained by paper, the State Department will pay for the hotel rooms needed during the visit, including $25,920 for hotel rooms at the Marriott; $64,320 for rooms at the Radisson Blu; and $32,000 for rooms at the Ritz-Carlton.
Transportation costs amount to just over $20,693, which also will be paid for by the State Department.
The price tag for the Saudi Arabia visit is not the first time questions have been raised about presidential trips.
When Obama and the first family traveled to Africa in 2013, anonymous sources told The Washington Post
that the trip could cost between $60 million and $100 million.
Part of the costs would be to pay for military cargo planes to "airlift 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."
But the White House admitted it did not know the exact cost for traveling to three countries between June 26 and July 3, 2013.
"We don't have the exact figure on costs — frankly we don't own or control those numbers," Rhodes told Yahoo! News.
"The security requirements, which make up the bulk of the cost, are determined by the Secret Service, and they don't publicly release the breakdown of the costs for these types of trips."
According to an ongoing accounting of presidential travel compiled by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation,
Obama's recent trip to India is the second time he has visited the country as president and to date, Obama has taken 38 trips to 85 countries (including repeat visits) and spent 150 days abroad.
By comparison, President George W. Bush had been on 36 trips to 93 countries over 143 days and President Bill Clinton had been on 34 trips to 86 countries, spanning 158 days, at similar points in their presidencies, according to NTU.
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