Obamas’ Hawaii Jaunt Costs Locals at Least $350K

Published February 3, 2014

During her holiday visit to Maui and the home of close family friend Oprah Winfrey, First Lady Michelle Obama was escorted by Maui police.

The tab for that protection? $54,233.70, said a spokesman for the Maui Police Department.

That’s a drop in the bucket, though.

Honolulu police protected the first family while they spent some 15 days during the holidays in Kailua, Oahu.

Michelle Yu, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department, said the department spent $293,731.99 for overtime only, an expense that excludes normal salary pay.

No Reimbursement

Neither county police department will seek federal reimbursement for those expenses, putting the burden on local taxpayers.

In 2008, when the Obamas first visited Oahu during the holidays, the City and County of Honolulu sought reimbursement, but they were never repaid. Now the county budgets for the president’s annual holiday visit.

The Obamas’ Hawaiian vacation costs more than $4 million total for travel, staffing, security, housing, car rentals, and transportation of vehicles and a helicopter.

Michelle Obama’s extended vacation on the island of Maui, which the president said was an early birthday present for her, also entailed the cost for Secret Service travel, rental cars, and accommodations, as well as transportation.

No Details

Just after the First Lady flew to Maui, White House Spokesman Jay Carney acknowledged in a news conference taxpayers are picking up some of the cost of her trip and travel back to Washington DC, but he would not disclose the details.

“As with all personal travel, the first family will appropriately fund personal expenses … And in line with travel of past presidents and first ladies, the First Lady will travel via government aircraft,” Carney said in response to a question from Fox News.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the First Lady typically flies in either a C-40B or a C-32A aircraft.

Operational cost per flight hour ranges from $19,755 on the C-40B to $42,918 on the C-32A, so a 10-hour flight could cost anywhere from $197,550 to $429,180.