Taxpayers footed the bill for $96 million in mostly personal travel expenses for President Obama and his family over the eight years Obama has occupied the White House, according to a new report from Judicial Watch announced Thursday.
The president’s high-priced trips included the family’s annual vacation to Hawaii, which cost an estimated $3.5 million in flight expenses alone, a $222,000 ski trip to Aspen for Michelle Obama and her daughters, and $450,000 in flight expenses for the family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, the Washington Examiner reported.
According to Judicial Watch, Secret Service expenses for the first family’s 2015 Hawaiian vacation totaled $1.2 million, bringing the total of that year’s vacation to $4.8 million.
“The Obamas notorious abuse of presidential travel perks wasted military resources and stressed the Secret Service,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in a statement. “Judicial Watch estimates that the final costs of Obama’s unnecessary vacation and political travel will well exceed $100 million.”
The White House, however, has defended Obama’s trip to Hawaii as it being the place where he was born and spent most of his childhood.
“Despite the security apparatus that accompanies any president when traveling, the administration works with the United States Secret Service to minimize the disruptions to local residents and businesses,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said to McClatchy DC. “Honolulu is a place where the president can enjoy some downtime with his family and friends and he’s grateful for the warm hospitality he enjoys when there.”
Obama has taken 28 vacations spanning all or part of 217 days out of his time in office, according to CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.
These numbers do not include this year’s Hawaii trip, which began Friday and is expected to end Jan. 2.