Every now and again, a tired and predictable outrage erupts over the cost of Bush’s! Obama’s! or (fill in the blank) _____’s travel. We heard one a few weeks ago when the President went! to! Africa!
The rants are usually accompanied by charges that the President is getting all tyrannical and acting like a king plus no other President has been so respectful of hard-working tax-paying Americans, so extravagant (especially if the President being so characterized is of anther political party).
And they’re right. President protection has reached preposterous levels. As for the effectiveness of the web of security we’ve constructed, look no further than Reagan – shot from just a few yards away while surrounded by Secret Service.
From the time of the Kennedy assassination, the retinue – from the epic productions that are foreign travel, to the limo known as “The Beast” and the ambulances that accompany every POTUS motorcade – has grown like a cancer.
In a post called When Presidents Travel, james at PoliticalDog101 tells us in detail how costs reach absurd levels when a POTUS and/or a FLOTUS go a’callin’ – pretty much anywhere.
Here’s The Dog (he does not even try to list the number of people who travel with the President – staff aides, cooks, stewards, pilots, government functionaries):
Aircraft for the President:
- Air Force One of course
- a second B-747-200 back up plane in case the one the President is traveling on has trouble.
Helicopters when needed:
- Marine One Helicopter – for POTUS
- For security details and press, another 4-5 choppers
The helicopters are airlifted by Air Force C-17 Cargo planes to EACH stop on the trip
- Presidential Limo’s – two limos for EACH stop
- Secret Service ‘Back-Up’ Vehicles to transport the President’s Security Detail
- White House Communications Vehicle – This SUV will be in the motorcade to help keep up contact with the US from anywhere on the planet
- Secret Service Counter Assault Team SUV – Heavily armed firepower to protect POTUS (in addition to the Security Detail)
- Hazmat Vehicle – A Marine detail in case of a chemical assault on the POTUS group
- White House Medical Team Vehicle – Usually a US Doctor from the WH Staff plus a paramedic or military medic with their equipment
All of the vehicles (about 8 to 10 ) are airlifted by Air Force C-17 Cargo planes to EACH stop