The New York Times reports that Michelle Obama is paying for her own and her daughter’s room and board (and apparently the equivalent of two first class plane tickets for flying on an Air Force jet) for her luxury vacation in Spain. The large group of personal friends that came along for the ride evidently are paying their own way too.
The many other costs to the U.S. taxpayer, however, are raising eyebrows especially in these difficult economic times amidst rampant domestic unemployment when perhaps the First Family should be vacationing closer to home. And these costs are considerable to the tune of about $80,000/day if the U.K’s DailyMail estimates are correct:
[The taxpayer] will definitely be footing the bill for the First Lady’s 68-strong security detail, her personal staff – and the use of presidential jet Air Force Two….The American public will also cover the cost of the only official part of the holiday, a visit to the Spanish royal family on the island of Majorca.
Mrs Obama and her entourage are staying at the exclusive Hotel Villa Padierna, a Mediterranean beach resort near Marbella, Spain. In the New York Daily News, columnist Andrea Tantaros draws a a parallel between Mrs. Obama and Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France and wife of King Louis XIV, who is famous for purportedly saying (and it may be an urban myth) of her constituents, “let them eat cake.”
…why not select a more appropriate destination like the California coast? The scenery is just as gorgeous as that of Spain, and instead of patronizing a foreign country they would be pumping money into an American economy that desperately needs it….Instead, Michelle Obama seems more like a modern-day Marie Antoinette – the French queen who spent extravagantly on clothes and jewels without a thought for her subjects’ plight – than an average mother of two.
The White House has not as yet revealed the taxpayer-funded price tag for this trip. In the meantime, do you think Tantaros is being unfair or does she have a point?