18 June 2013

Controversy over Obama's Africa Trip Cost

It costs a lot for President Obama to travel. He requires plenty of support and security for good reason. The President will make his way back to sub-Saharan Africa to visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania later this month. Given the logistical and security challenges in the countries, it is going to cost even more, reports the Washington Post.
Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close.
The trip in total will cost in the range of $60 million to $100 million. The cost will be a tad cheaper after a planned safari in Mikumi National park that required additional Secret Service agents was canceled.

“After I read that story in the paper, I thought to myself: ‘It’s mind-boggling to think of taking a trip like this when we’re having to make the cuts in federal spending that we’re now having to make,’” said former head of the White House Travel Office Billy Dale to conservative outlet Newsmax.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes defended criticisms of the trip saying that Africa is an important region for the US.

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