Why can’t Obamas enjoy ‘staycation?’
by Jerry Landers
Columnist
June 13, 2013 11:25 PM | 899 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While on a recent trip to the UK, an article written by Fergus Black in the Irish Independent on May 27, 2013, caught my eye. It appears that Michelle Obama will be accompanying the president to Ireland for the upcoming G-8 Summit which will take place Monday and Tuesday at the posh Lough Erne Resort at Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

The interesting part of the article was that Ms. Obama will not be staying with the president while he is working with his G-8 colleagues. Instead, Ms. Obama, along with their two daughters, will be staying at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, on what appears to be yet another family vacation for the Obamas.

Let me be clear about this. I do not begrudge the first family a vacation. In fact, if asked, I would encourage Mr. Obama to take whatever time he thinks he needs to get away (in part because he can never really leave it all at the office) from what may very well be one of the toughest jobs on the planet.

In what has become sort of a habit of luxury for Ms. Obama, while in Dublin, she will be staying in the $2,500 per night Princess Grace Suite at the Shelbourne. This accommodation, named for THE Princess Grace, who was once a guest at the Shelbourne, is 1,530 square feet, with two bedrooms, two baths and according to the hotel’s web page, comes with butler service.

According to Black’s article, the Obamas’ daughters will have adjoining suites. It is unclear whether they will both have their own suite or be required to actually share a suite.

The article also states that the hotel declined to comment on reports that 30 rooms have been set aside for Ms. Obama “and her entourage.”

If you are counting, this will be the fourth vacation for the first family this year. They started the year off in Hawaii for a nine-day getaway to the president’s home state. Then over the Presidents’ Day weekend, Ms. Obama and the daughters went to Aspen for a ski vacation. The president, however, went to Florida to hang out with Tiger Woods for a few days of golf, which reportedly cost the taxpayers over $1 million, and which, according to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), could have been applied to save 341 federal workers from furloughs in this era of budget sequestration.

No reason was given why the Obamas could not find a way to combine their Presidents’ Day weekend vacation. The most recent vacation for at least the Obama children was at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

First, does the President or Ms. Obama have any idea what these frequent, and mostly separate, trips cost the taxpayers? There are security and other expenses involved in every trip the president takes for business or pleasure, which should be publicly funded.

Does it occur to the Obamas that separate vacations require additional security and other expenses and thus more cost to the taxpayers?

Second, does the President or Ms. Obama realize how their apparently extravagant taste in vacations looks to the average citizen who is working very hard to take maybe one vacation a year?

Even if the Obamas are covering the food and lodging expenses, the optics of the Obamas’ jet-setting, free-spending vacation habits cannot be lost on the president and his handlers.

On the other hand, maybe they just don’t care what it looks like or what the extra costs are. After all, they aren’t paying for it. We are.

Just make sure that Ms. Obama puts the Princess Grace Suite and the adjoining suites on her own credit card.

Jerry Landers is an attorney in Marietta.
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