Tag Archives: Presidential travel

When a President travels: it’s embarrassing

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

The vehicles:

  • 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

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This kind of nonsense can break up families

Oh the ugly . . . anger spreads today across the land because the First Family spent lottsa taxpayer money staying in Ireland. And the First Lady is bad. Bad, bad, bad . . . here are the first six comments from a post at something called reagancoalition.* (The story began at the Moonie-owned, barely subscribed financial failure The Washington Times, and then went to Newsmax where this coalition-of-racists picked it up.)

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So she’s a low class n—ger with a big black butt whose kids hate her. Obviously. But it’s sooo classy to make fun of the kids (later comments savage them). I remember Limbaugh going after then 12 year old Chelsea Clinton and making fun of her looks. That was classy too.

An aside: the Obamas made a State visit the UK in ’10; Bush did the same in ’03. In 2011, the BBC compared costs and other aspects of the visits.  It’s here and is very interesting. Note that Bush brought 700 people with him; Obama brought 500. Pretty much this is what happens when a President of the United States goes calling.

*(Stipulated: 1) this looks like a wing site, and 2) I remember the Bush/monkey stuff but he was the president and she isn’t.)

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I gave the original of this picture of my great grandfather to that cousin. It’s a precious one as he is reading the very first edition of The Saturday Evening Post, in 1887.

Anyway, the story that occasions this post popped up on my timeline on Facebook as a ‘share’ from a second cousin. When I first went onto Facebook, I was delighted to find relatives I hadn’t communicated with in decades and we began some lovely getting re-acquainted dialogue. I even joined this cousin’s sister in a genealogy project which we conducted via email. It was a great deal of fun and very rewarding. She was deeply interested in family history – unlike my own nieces and nephews – so I sent her many heirlooms from my own great-grandparents, grandparents etc; it was mostly original photos, letters, even some wedding veils . . . it was a wonderful year or two for both of us.

Until last year. That’s when I began streaming this blog onto my facebook page. The communications died, emails were only answered in the most cursory way and eventually not at all. I had all along been quite familiar with these women’s politics and knew we were very different that way. But that wasn’t the sort of thing what we talked about, so it didn’t matter. Or so I thought.

I’ve not unfriended either of them and never will, but it’s a loss.