The fact that The White House banned press from accompanying the First Lady, her daughters and her mother on their spring break trip to China pretty much tells the story: Presumably there is, from their point of view, nothing in any way "newsworthy" about the trip.
Fair enough -- although, if that's the case, one can't help wondering why the Obamas couldn't have waited two-and-one-half years to show their daughters China on their own dime (or rather, on their own post-presidential, multi-million book deals). Surely Mrs. Obama could have conducted the same sort of "personal diplomacy" then, as a former FLOTUS.
But if the trip truly is just a news-free First Family get-away, it's hard to understand how the First Lady and her entourage could justify staying at the Westin Chaoyang Hotel. According to the Weekly Standard's Jeryl Bier, when Vice President visited China just four months ago, he was "forced" to stay at the St. Regis, as the contracting officer for the trip found that the Westin Chaoyang Hotel's "price was prohibitive when compared with St. Regis."
In other words, a hotel that was too expensive for the Vice President -- on an official visit -- is A-OK for the First Lady and her family on a trip that has been deemed, in essence, private (i.e., of no official news interest to the American people).
It would be nice to believe that the Obamas personally are the ones footing the bill for the extra-ritzy accommodations . . . but c'mon. It's been five years now, and we've all come to know well the way the First Lady rolls.
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