This Spring Break, the White House is closed to public self-guided tours. Thousands of students have been turned away in a bid to trim $2 million from the Secret Service budget. The cost-cutting, however, only goes so far. On Thursday, VP Joe Biden jetted off to the luxurious Kawaih Island in South Carolina for a relaxing weekend of sun and golf. It’s his third vacation of the year.
Biden began the year relaxing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Over Presidents’ Day, he took to the slopes in Colorado. His day job isn’t too shabby either. In the past couple of weeks, he has spent time in London, Paris and Rome.
I don’t begrudge anyone taking a vacation, although one a month seems a tad aggressive. Even a European may blush at that rate of relaxation. I have no doubt, either, that the Bidens pay the personal costs of their lodging and meals while on vacation. But the travel and security required for their trips are billed to taxpayers. The biggest cost, security, is billed to the very entity whose “budget cuts” necessitated the closing of the White House tours.
How much have Biden and Obama’s recent vacations cost the Secret Service? Hundreds of thousands in additional costs? Millions? At the very least, the added spending could have been redirected to keep the White House open during the tourist-heavy Spring Break period.
That, however, would require governing in the best interests of the public.