Frequent-Flyer-in-Chief: President Obama's most historic foreign trips
Q: A friend told me she heard that Donald Trump will spend far more on travel than former President Obama. Is this more anti-Trump propaganda?
S.R., of O’Fallon
A: Based on an October 2016 cost analysis of presidential travel by the Government Accountability Office, your friend is not giving you so-called fake news.
According to a report by Judicial Watch (and reported on Dec. 29 by the conservative media outlet Breitbart), taxpayers spent about $97 million on mostly personal travel during Obama’s two terms in office — or about $12 million a year. This included $5 million trips to Hawaii, a $222,000 ski trip for Michelle Obama and her daughters to Aspen, Colo., and nearly half a million to fly the first family to Martha’s Vineyard for their summer vacation.
On Jan. 5, 2012, Donald Trump tweeted, “President @BarackObama’s vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars — Unbelievable!”
But during his first month in office, Trump took three trips to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., at a total estimated cost of $10 million — or nearly as much as Obama spent in a year, according to accountability office projections used by the Washington Post. (You can study the basis for the figures at www.gao.gov/assets/690/680400.pdf.)
In Trump’s case, it also includes Coast Guard expenses for patrolling the shore line near the club. Palm Beach County residents also are paying $60,000 a day in local law enforcement costs when the president is in town, which the county plans to bill the federal government. At the same time, Secret Service agents last weekend provided security for two of Trump’s sons when they attended the opening of a family-branded golf resort in the United Arab Emirates. And if the Secret Service continues to guard Trump Tower in New York, the bill will come to an estimated half-mill a day or $183 million a year.
Where would you go to see dozens of mounds constructed by prehistoric Native Americans in the shape of animals, birds and reptiles?
Answer to Saturday’s trivia: As best as historians can figure, Timotheus Ritzsch started the world’s first daily newspaper on July 1, 1650 — the Einkommende Zeitungen ( the “coming-in” or “incoming” newspaper) in Leipzig, Germany.