Just back from Asia, next Obama heads for Europe
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:12 AM ET
Just 48 hours off of Air Force One and a week-long jaunt around Asia, President Obama's White House has announced yet another international trip for the chief executive.
This one is to Europe again for the better part of the first week of June. His first stop will be Poland, the country he left out of the loop in 2009 when unilaterally killing a missile-defense shield as part of his unrequited suck-up of Russia's Vladimir Putin. He'll observe the 25th anniversary of Poland's emergence from communism.
Then on to Brussels for a two-day G-8 summit. Oh, wait. No, it's G-7 now since Russia was dumped as this year's host for its annexation of Crimea and ongoing Ukraine trouble-making.
Then, Obama will visit Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. And, of course, the annual summer pilgrimage to Martha's Vineyard, plus the usual array of photo-ops around the country to pitch that week's talking points and bash Congress.
ObamaCare remains unpopular among almost two-out-of-three Americans. And Obama's overall job approval reached a new low this week, 41%, while approval of his economic stewardship also sags. So, he won't likely be asked to campaign for many Democrats for the Nov. 4 midterms.
Obama has, however, committed to more of his favorite activity, political fundraising. After the most recent Fort Hood shooting memorial, Obama managed to stifle his grief long enough for two fundraisers that evening in Houston.
Much as he did in the Rose Garden for the cameras on Sept. 12, 2012, after vowing swift justice for the murderers of four Americans in Benghazi 12 hours earlier. (Remember, that vile video?) He still, however, managed to make that evening's fundraisers in Las Vegas.
Enough people apparently remain willing to fork over $20,000 to $30,000 to eat dinner in the same room with him.
Of course, every president travels as part of the job. Every president makes political appearances. And every president takes time off, though the last president tended to do that at his own secured home, not luxury resorts.
But the Obamas have taken presidential travel and tourism to expensive new heights -- or depths. Remember the family's $100 million tour of Africa last year?
Recall the day the Nobel Peace Prize winner launched his ill-advised war to oust Libya's dictator and leave that country as a deadly new al-Qaeda playground. Obama flew off for a South American tour with his wife, daughters, mother-in-law and her best friend from Chicago and didn't get around to explaining the questionable combat to Congress for 10 days.
ABC News (Another day, another trip.)
The most transparent presidential administration in history hasn't lived up to that promise either. Watchdog groups like Judicial Watch have had to sue under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain partial travel expense documentation for the Obamas' forays.
Last month we learned that the two-day sightseeing trip in Ireland last summer by Michelle Obama and her large entourage cost taxpayers more than a quarter-million dollars for two hotels and $114,000 just for rental cars. The flight costs alone for the Obamas' round-trip holiday plane ride to Hawaii set the country back $16 million in December.
That price tag does not include round-the-clock security, staff accommodations and other aircraft pre-positioning vehicles and other gear.
And Joe Biden is no bed-and-breakfast traveler either. Last year just for a one-night stay in Paris the VP's large entourage left taxpayers with a tab of $585,000. Check the mini-bar!
Now this week comes new data from another Judicial Watch lawsuit. It revealed, among other things, that Obama's back-to-back luxury golfing weekends this winter -- one with the family in Key Largo, Florida and the other with pals in Palm Springs, California -- cost taxpayers nearly $3 million. This during Obama's political pivot denouncing income inequality.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton observed: “It is clear that the Obamas continually abuse the perks of the president’s office at taxpayer expense.”
The cover story for the California trip was a visit to see drought impacts, which lasted four hours. The golfing resort stay followed for three days.