Michelle Obama's Vacation Extension May Cost Taxpayers at Least $200K
First Lady Michelle Obama’s “birthday gift” of spending extra days under the Hawaiian sun alone without her husband and children may cost U.S. taxpayers at least $200,000--more than four times the U.S. average annual salary of $45,790.
U.S. taxpayers are on the hook for costs associated with flying a government plane from Andrews Air Force Base to Hawaii and back, as well as a Secret Service detail for the first lady.
Keith Koffler at White House Dossier found that the U.S. Department of Defense charges other agencies $6,330 per hour to fly in the Air Force C-40B Special Mission Aircraft that Michelle Obama is expected to use.
“Assuming Mrs. Obama uses the type of plane she has flown before to Hawaii, the Air Force C-40B Special Mission Aircraft, the cost of a flight from Honolulu to Washington would be about $63,000,” estimated White House Dossier website on Jan. 5. “If the C-40B must be flown out to Hawaii to retrieve Mrs. Obama, as would seem likely, the first lady’s travel costs could amount to about $126,000, assuming the jet is dispatched from Washington.”
That figure is just for travel alone.
The travel “cost would be much higher still if a supply-carrying cargo jet comes home along with Michelle in addition to the cargo jet that accompanies Air Force One – particularly if that jet too must be flown out to Hawaii just for Mrs. Obama,” White House Dossier added.
Furthermore, “once you throw in the tens of thousands of dollars that must be dished out to house, pay, and support the military and Secret Service assets enlisted to protect Mrs. Obama – as well as other support staff – the price tag for her stay is probably in excess of $200,000, and possibly much more, depending on how long she remains on vacation,” continued the website.
The White House admitted yesterday that U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill of extending the first lady’s vacation.
Fox News’ Ed Henry asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, “The First Lady stayed behind in Hawaii and the White House said that that was an early birthday present from the President. Does that mean he's paying for the flight back, or are the taxpayers paying?”
"In line with travel of past Presidents and First Ladies, the First Lady will travel via government aircraft. But you're accurate in your description that this was her decision to remain at actually the President's suggestion in Hawaii to spend time with friends ahead of her upcoming very big birthday,” responded Carney. “ And if you have kids, you know that telling your spouse that they can go spend a week away from home is actually a big present.”
“Not that we don’t love our kids,” the White House spokesman jokingly added.
Carney insisted that “as with all personal travel, the First Family will appropriately fund personal expenses.”
According to various media reports, the first lady has gone from the Hawaiian island of Oahu to Oprah Winfrey’s 12-room mansion in the island of Maui.