You may not be able to tour the White House because of the spending increase slowdown from sequestration, but the Obama family can tour Africa for the small sum of $60 or $100 million.
President Barack Obama will hold bilateral meetings with leaders in Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania between June 26 and July 3, and the wife and kids are going along for the ride.
The Obama family vacation will include air transportation for 56 vehicles, among them 14 parade limousines, trucks carrying bulletproof glass to install at hotels, and two ambulances: one for dealing with biological and chemical contaminants, one with x-ray equipment.
Adding to the costs are 100 Secret Service Agents for the first three cities on the itinerary, 65 agents at the fourth, and 80 to 100 more to guard the Obama family 24/7.
Further, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier functioning as a hospital comes with the package, and fighter jets will patrol the area 24/7.
The White House had planned a safari with 35 more security agents. Why so many? The Washington Post, which saw those plans nixed once it asked questions about the cost of the Africa trip, said the 35 agents were “the president’s special counter-assault team to carry sniper rifles with high-caliber rounds that could neutralize cheetahs, lions or other animals if they became a threat, according to the planning document.”
Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes explained the trip’s cost are so high because it is the first substantial presidential delegation to sub-Saharan Africa. He added, “The infrastructure that accompanies the president’s travels is beyond our control. The security requirements are not White House-driven, they are Secret Service-driven… Part of this is the nature of making sure we travel to emerging areas in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. They are not as designed to facilitate the footprint of the United States president.”