Michelle Obama castigated for lavish Spanish holiday
A few months ago Mr Obama criticised people going to Vegas to spend their money. He said that Americans should stop wasting and save more. Now, not only did his wife take Air Force Two and 40 of her friends on a holiday, but she also decided to spend tax money on having a good time. It always astounds me that Socialists want everyone to live in poverty because to be rich is a sin – however, when it comes to their comfort no cost is spared. The White House has defended the trip as a private decision by a private citizen and noted that most of expense has been met by the Obama’s. This is not true. The American taxpayer will have to pick up the tab for the First Lady’s 68-strong security detail, her personal staff – and the use of presidential jet Air Force Two. The cost of accommodating the secret service team runs to nearly $94 000 for the length of the summer break.Use of Air Force Two comes in at $144 000 for the round trip. This does not include time on the ground. The American public will also cover the cost of the only official part of the holiday, a visit to the Spanish royal family on the island of Majorca. A conservative estimate puts the total amount at around $240 000. That’s $240 000 that wasn’t spent in America (and excludes all the private monies paid by the huge party on accommodation etc). I would say “let them eat cake” but Mrs Obama doesn’t even want you eating cake – it causes obesity.
Throughout the challenging second year of his presidency, US President Barack Obama has been able to lean on the political savvy and Teflon-coated image of his wife, Michelle.
But as the Democratic leader braces for the most serious test of his rule in the upcoming November elections, those trusted attributes seem to have deserted the first couple.
These days the US press is no longer full of glowing descriptions of the First Lady’s common touch, which she uncannily managed to preserve while radiating glamour reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy.
Instead, Michelle Obama’s holiday jaunt to Spain has unleashed a storm of criticism, with accusations of jet-set living at taxpayer expense even as millions of Americans struggle to make ends meet in a lagging economy.
One columnist described the first lady as America’s 21st-century version of the French queen whose profligate reputation helped spark the French Revolution.
‘Michelle Obama seems more like a modern-day Marie Antoinette … than an average mother of two,’ wrote Andrea Tantaros in The New York Daily News.
Tantaros acknowledged that while ‘we all need downtime – the first family included – it’s the extravagance of Michelle Obama’s trip and glitzy destination contrasted with President Obama’s demonization of the rich that smacks of hypocrisy and perpetuates a disconnect between the country and its leaders.’
The outrage has been led by influential rightwing blogger Matt Drudge, who has delighted in linking from his webpage to mostly British and Spanish reports detailing every supposed extravagance enjoyed by the Obama entourage.
But the baying hounds of Obama’s rightwing critics are not the only ones who have noted the incongruity of the summer holiday.
‘A five-star resort on the Spanish Costa del Sol was probably not the first choice of White House spin-meisters for a mother-daughter getaway,’ the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus noted, ‘especially when the getaway included a posse of 40 friends of the first lady staying at the Hotel Villa Padierna, and photos of Michelle Obama strolling in Marbella wearing an off-the-shoulder number by Jean Paul Gaultier.’
Lynn Sweet, who covers the first lady for Politicsdaily.com, characterized the destination as unwise in troubled times.
‘Mrs Obama’s Spain vacation is one of eight she is taking this year,’ Sweet wrote.
‘She is now at a world-renowned resort while the jobless rate is high and the economy is still struggling. By doing so she is tempting a backlash. Mrs Obama is highlighting the beauty of Spain’s Mediterranean coast, before her weekend visit to Florida’s coast later this month to encourage tourism in areas not impacted by the BP oil spill.’
The White House has defended Obama’s holiday as a private decision by a private citizen and noted that most of expense has been met by the Obamas and their friends who are accompanying them on the trip.
Only the added expense of the Secret Service detail is being met by taxpayers – which is the same for every first-family trip, according to Newsweek.
In addition Michelle Obama is undertaking official duties on the trip including an official visit to King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain. The visit also helps assuage Spain’s disappointment at Obama’s cancellation of his visit to Spain earlier this year to get health reform through Congress.