Come on guys, let’s start focusing on the important stuff like ObamaCare, Ukraine and winning the Senate.
All this outrage in the conservative media about how much money it’s costing for Barack Obama’s trip to Belgium and for Michelle Obama’s travels to China is just a waste of time.
Yes, the cost of their trips, whether they’re measured in millions of dollars or thousands of hotel-room nights, is outrageous.
But what POTUS (the president of the United States) and FLOTUS (the first lady of the United States) are doing on their travels is nothing new or abnormal.
Obama’s official overseas trips and family vacations seem extravagant and more expensive than they should be, but they’re not significantly higher in number than George W. Bush’s were.
According to a National Taxpayer Foundation study reported by Breitbart.com, so far Obama has taken 31 trips and spent 119 days abroad. That compares to George W. Bush’s 28 trips and 116 days overseas in his first five years and Bill Clinton’s 27 trips and 113 days.
Let’s get real. Presidents and “protectees” like the first lady and the Obama kids travel differently than any other persons in the human race, except maybe Donald Trump.
I know because for the eight years my father was president I was a protectee – and so were each of my two kids.
Whether I was alone, with my family or with my father, I had a three-person Secret Service protection detail -- 24/7. So did each of my kids, Cameron and Ashley.
In the 1980s the media made a fuss about how much money was being spent on me when I traveled to Europe with my wife and kids.
I admit it was embarrassing. But I had no choice when it came to security. I was on the president’s protected list and the president gets to decide who’s on it.
Traveling with all that security was crazy, complicated and costly to taxpayers. Advance teams went ahead of us to Europe to contact local police.
We were a 12-car motorcade wherever we went. Along with our traveling Secret Service detail, when we were in Europe we were protected by national and local police forces. In London, Scotland Yard joined our parade.
Once when I flew into Genoa, Italy, I noticed the airport was surrounded by soldiers armed with Uzis.
I said to my Secret Service agent, “My God, what’s happening here?” He said, “You’re happening here. They’re all here for you.”
All that protection made sense then and still does: No foreign country wants to risk having a member of the family of the American president – or any visiting G-7 official -- kidnapped or killed.
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