Legacy of Taxpayer Cost of Obama Family and Not So Family Vacations

President Obama will leave the presidency after eight-years on January 20, 2017. History will judge his overall performance as the years go by, but one legacy he will leave behind is the enormous amount of taxpayer money it took to fund the numerous vacations his family took.

As all presidential candidates do, then Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) had his share of campaign promises. Running for the White House in 2008, Obama made numerous pledges that he failed to keep. He promised black America that he would improve conditions and create jobs for them, but that promise failed to be kept. Instead, conditions for many blacks are worse now than when Obama took office.

Candidate Obama promised us affordable healthcare, but what he provided is the exact opposite. He promised the most transparent presidency in our nation’s history and instead we got the Solyndra fiasco, “Fast and Furious,” and The IRS scandal to name just a few.

One promise sticks out like a sore thumb, and many Americans are either unaware or simply fail to grasp its enormity. In 2009, Obama promised not to take any family or personal vacations while serving in the White House. By February, 2012 and only three years in office, Obama and members of his family had already taken a grand total of 16 vacations, with or without him.

obama vacations.The presidential candidate had made the promise of no vacations for two reasons; he had far too much work to do to take time off and he would not waste taxpayer money on personal vacations. Apparently golf games all over the country and the world were not considered vacations.

One of the Obamas favorite vacations is spending the Christmas holidays in far off Hawaii, specifically Oahu. It has been a tradition all eight-years of his presidency. The estimated cost of flying Air Force One is listed to be around $180,000 per hour. From Washington DC to Hawaii and back is 18 hours. That means that just the cost to fly to Hawaii then back to Washington then back to Hawaii and then return home cost US taxpayers around $6.48 million.

That does not include the cost of the earlier flights taken by security and other staff to prepare for the Obama vacation. The Obamas never fly alone either. They always take private secretaries, Secret Service, personal hairdressers and wardrobe people as well as Michelle’s mother and assorted friends and acquaintances.

The sum for just these vacations to Hawaii is mind boggling. The Obama Hawaii junkets, trips to Martha’s Vineyard, et al have cost American taxpayers $68 million. This does not include Michelle’s vacations to Spain, Africa, etc. described as “official business” when submitted to the General Accounting Office.

Obama’s over-the-top extravagance reminds the taxpayer of the infamous sequestration, where sections of the government shut down because Obama refused to compromise on a budget. During that time, all White House tours were cancelled due to costs. That in turn spoiled the vacation plans and school trips for millions of hard-working American families.

At the same time, the two Obama girls, ages 12 and 14 at the time, spent spring break at the luxurious Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, without their parents. From the Bahamas, the First Daughters flew to Sun Valley, Idaho for some resort skiing. The American taxpayer paid for this. All this occurring as the country struggled to rebound from what Obama described as “the worst recession since WWII.”

Judicial Watch recently reported the latest Obama family vacation to Hawaii, taken in 2015, cost taxpayers an estimated $4.8 million. The Secret Service cost alone was $1.2 million. All told, the Obamas have cost US taxpayers $85 million on just vacations overall, whatever they may be called. While American families stayed home for lack of liquid cash to travel, Obama and his family took more vacations in eight-years than most Americans do in an entire lifetime.

Between such uncountable venues such as travel expenses, a failed healthcare law, a dismantled foreign policy nightmare, an eight-year recovery from recession, lower incomes, higher crime, an ever-increasing welfare state and the most divided country in memory, it will be interesting to see how history treats Barack Obama’s presidency.


Dwight L. Schwab Jr.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.