Sasha Obama is not impressed with trip to China
By Geoff Earle
March 25, 2014 | 2:40am
WASHINGTON — Spring break was never this dull.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s kids finally hit the wall on their whirlwind visit to China, showing signs they’ve nearly reached their limit tagging along with Mom as she visits site after site on what’s billed as a “person-to-person” tour.
Accompanied by Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12, the first lady on Monday toured Xi’an, an ancient city in the ancestral province of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
They inspected the city’s 600-year-old wall, a day after touring the Great Wall near Beijing.
Photos show Sasha looking like she’d rather be back home with her pals than hitting the highlights of the world’s most populous nation.
The family also visited the famed pit where some 8,000 terra-cotta warriors were buried along with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, around 210 BC.
Michelle Obama asked questions of a museum director, but her daughters looked only “vaguely interested,” according to a pool reporter who was kept at a distance.
The first lady also walked around the city, where she met a group of schoolchildren. When one of the students invited her to jump rope, she changed out of her heels and briefly joined in.
The weeklong trip, an effort to build bridges with the fast-emerging power, is also attracting attention for its steep cost.
Obama’s five-star Westin hotel, where she reportedly is paying $8,400 per night, was deemed too pricey for Vice President Joe Biden during his visit late last year, according to federal contract documents.
“Westin Chaoyang — price was prohibitive when compared with St. Regis — otherwise met requirements,” according to documents posted by the The Weekly Standard.
Malia and Sasha appear bored while watching a man flying a kite at the City Wall.Photo: Reuters
“In preliminary price comparisons, the costs were tens of thousands of dollars over the St. Regis. We requested a price reduction but a great cost difference remained,” the document adds.
Biden’s tab was $384,000, and Michelle Obama’s trip — on which she is accompanied by her mother, Marianne Robinson, her daughters and multiple Secret Service agents and other officials — is expected to run significantly more.
In Europe, President Obama joked with China’s president about how his wife, who tried her hand at ping-pong during the trip, didn’t measure up to “high-level ping-pong diplomacy” of the past.
President Xi responded in stiff language, saying: “She asked me to formally convey to you her best regards,” and got a laugh from a roomful of diplomats.