Michelle Obama’s hotel suite in China was considered too expensive for Vice President Joe Biden when he visited Beijing last year.
Mrs. Obama is staying in a 3,445 square foot suite at the five-star Westin Beijing Chaoyang near the US embassy, which reportedly costs about $8,400 a night, unless the First Family is getting a presidential discount. Michelle Obama is being accompanied by her daughters and mother, but not her husband, along with an entourage of about 70 persons, including Secret Service agents.
Before Biden went to China in December, the US government determined that the “price was prohibitive” for staying at the Westin and nixed the reservation.
He bunked at the St. Regis instead, at a cost to the taxpayers of about $385,000 for 213 hotel rooms.
Michelle Obama’s trip to China is considered non-political, but it is still on the taxpayer’s dime even though she is not an elected official. “The first lady is on a weeklong trip to the region for what the White House described as a ‘person-to-person’ soft diplomatic tour — that doesn’t include any members of the press but is still paid by taxpayers.”
Stops so far included the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. Among other events, Mrs. Obama also gave a speech at Peking University that focused on the benefits of education and the importance of free speech.
The actual cost of the Michelle Obama China trip has not yet been released by the White House.
According to one estimate, “The total cost of this excursion, which is heavy on tourist stuff, is likely north of $1 million… This voyage has far more flying time — a major piece of the cost — and much more demanding security requirements, as well as lots of staff.”