Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, along with their large entourages, flew separately to the Los Angeles area on Thursday to make separate same-day entertainment talk show appearances, with the taxpayer getting the bill.
Although the Obamas traveled separately, both shows are apparently taped in the same city, Burbank.
President Obama attended a fundraiser that same night in the area and from there, he was scheduled to visit the VA hospital in Phoenix where the scandal over the mistreatment of veterans got its start. Michelle Obama separately flew back to Washington the same day.
As The Inqusitr previously chronicled, there have been a string of rumors about the status of the Obama marriage. Whether separate travel arrangements have anything to do with this is purely speculation.
With that said, what a couple chooses to do or not do in their private lives is their business, of course, but it is a far different matter when the taxpayer is picking up the tab.
In an attempt to justify the necessity for separate jumbo jet flights on the taxpayer’s dime, a White House spokesman claimed that “I believe on this occasion the schedules were not in sync to travel together. I’m not even sure they overlapped.”
Travel on Air Force One, the president’s plane, costs about $200,000 an hour. “At that rate, the President’s flight to Los Angeles, which clocked in at just under five hours, cost over $1 million. The First Lady’s office would not provide specific details about the plane Mrs. Obama took to California. The Air Force lists the cost per flying hour for a C-32, which is frequently used for dignitary travel, at $28,834 in 2014, but notes that the costs for Presidential travel can be calculated differently,” CNN reported.
This taly does not include the costs for staff, security, accommodations, and various other significant expenses that go along with the First Family.
About the Obama’s West Coast trip, an executive with the National Taxpayer Union, a watchdog group, commented that “the lack of transparency on Presidential travel and the First Lady’s travel makes it tough for taxpayers to determine whether specific trips are wasteful or completely necessary. If this was an unavoidable scheduling roadblock, or a choice made for convenience at taxpayer expense, is difficult to know, and makes all the difference. In general, the cost of flying Air Force One has gone up significantly over the past decade; the President has a duty to taxpayers to make prudent travel decisions.”
Do you think the taxpayer received value by paying for Barack and Michelle Obama to fly separately to and from California to appear on Kimmel and Ellen?
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 13, 2015
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