Expensive massages, top shelf vodka and five-star hotels: First Lady accused of spending $10m in public money on her vacations
The Obamas’ summer break on Martha’s Vineyard has already been branded a PR disaster after the couple arrived four hours apart on separate government jets.
But according to new reports, this is the least of their extravagances.
White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers’ money on vacations alone in the past year.
Expensive taste: Michelle Obama, pictured yesterday in Massachusetts, has been accused of spending $10m of public money on vacations
Branding her ‘disgusting’ and ‘a vacation junkie’, they say the 47-year-old mother-of-two has been indulging in five-star hotels, where she splashes out on expensive massages and alcohol.
The ‘top source’ told the National Enquirer: ‘It’s disgusting. Michelle is taking advantage of her privileged position while the most hardworking Americans can barely afford a week or two off work.
‘When it’s all added up, she’s spent more than $10million in taxpayers’ money on her vacations.’
His and her jets: The President and his wife, who are spending nine days on Martha’s Vineyard, have come under fire for travelling on separate planes
The First Lady is believed to have taken 42 days of holiday in the past year, including a $375,000 break in Spain and a four-day ski trip to Vail, Colorado, where she spent $2,000 a night on a suite at the Sebastian hotel.
And the first family’s nine-day stay in Martha’s Vineyard is also proving costly, with rental of the Blue Heron Farm property alone costing an estimated $50,000 a week.
The source continued: ‘Michelle also enjoys drinking expensive booze during her trips. She favours martinis with top-shelf vodka and has a taste for rich sparking wines.
‘The vacations are totally Michelle’s idea. She’s like a junkie. She can’t schedule enough getaways, and she lives from one to the next – all the while sticking it to hardworking Americans.’
Travelling in style: Mrs Obama during her $375,000 trip to Spain last year
High security: Bodyguards surround the First Lady and youngest daughter Sasha as they take a stroll on the Costa del Sol
While the President and his wife do pay for some of their personal expenses from their own pocket, the website whitehousedossier.com says that the amount paid by the couple is ‘dwarfed by the overall cost to the public’.
The magazine also reported that Mrs Obama, whose fashion choices are widely followed, had been going on ‘wild shopping sprees’, much to the distress of her husband, who, its sources reveal, is ‘absolutely furious’ at his wife’s ‘out-of-control spending’.
The President has already come under fire this week over his decision to take a family vacation while millions of Americans are out of work and countless more are financially strapped.
Luxury break: The President and his family, pictured in December, splashed out more than $1.5million on a Christmas holiday in Hawaii
‘Winter White House’: The property in Kailua cost $38,000 to rent
But the situation sparked further anger after he and his wife elected to fly separately to the Massachusetts retreat – despite travelling on the same day.
Mr Obama left the White House aboard Marine One on his way to Andrews Air Force base to hitch a lift aboard Air Force One – along with First Dog Bo.
After landing at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station, he then took a final helicopter to his holiday destination to complete the remarkable 500-mile journey.
His wife and daughters, who arrived just four hours earlier, were also travelling from Washington, but took a specially designed military aircraft.
They would also have had their own motorcade from the airport to the vacation residence.
FIRST LADY OF LUXURY TRAVEL: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OBAMAS’ LAVISH GETAWAYS OVER THE PAST 12 MONTHS
GIRLS’ TRIP TO SPAIN: AUGUST 2010
The exact cost is unclear as Mrs Obama and her 40 friends footed many personal expenses, such as hotels and meals themselves.
But the U.S. taxpayer would have paid for the First Lady’s 68-strong security detail, personal staff, and use of presidential jet Air Force Two.
Per diems for the secret service team runs at around $281 each – nearly $98,000 for the length of the summer break.
Use of Air Force Two, the Air Force version of a 757, comes in at $149,900 for the round trip. This does not include time on the ground.
Mrs Obama’s personal staff, of which there are an unknown amount and might cost considerably more per day, should also be taken into account.
CHRISTMAS BREAK IN HAWAII: DECEMBER 2010
According to the Hawaii Reporter, the bill for the $1.5m trip included:
- $63,000 on an early flight bringing Mrs Obama and the children to Hawaii ahead of the President.
- $1,000,000 on Mr Obama’s return trip from Washington on Air Force One.
- $38,000 for the ‘Winter White House’ beach property rental.
- $16,000 to rent nearby homes for Secret Service and Navy Seals.
- $134,000 for 24 White House staff to stay at the Moana Hotel.
- $251,000 in police overtime.
- $10,000 for an ambulance to be on hand at all times
SKI TRIP TO VAIL: FEBRUARY 2011
Mrs Obama and her daughters stayed at the Sebastian hotel on Vail Mountain, where rooms cost more than $2,400 for multi-bedroom suites.
The family appear to have flown there on Air Force Two.
They were escorted to the resort by a motorcade of about a dozen vehicles, including 15 state and local law enforcement officers
SUMMER HOLIDAY ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD: AUGUST 2011
The Blue Heron Farm estate, where the Obama family are currently staying, rents for about $50,000 a week.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the Coast Guard is required to keep ships floating near the property, the presidential helicopter and jet remain at the ready and security agents will be on 24-hour duty.