President Obama Cancels Two-Day Safari Trip in Tanzania Over Costs

David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

Here we go again, every time President Obama and his family take a vacation, the right wing freaks out. President Obama cancels safari trip in Tanzania because of the cost of security, during his trip to Africa later this month. Of course, he won’t be applauded for it, instead,  someone chose to leak that snipers will be on hand to shoot any lions or other wild animals that come near the First Couple. Some details about President Obama’s trip were leaked to the Washington Post by someone who was ‘concerned’ over the costs involved. Right. Thanks to Edward Snowden, leaking is now in vogue. It’s the cool thing to do, right? Some are even bringing up the sequester cuts as justification for their criticism of the Obamas’ family vacation.

Any journey by the president, such as one scheduled next week for Northern Ireland and Germany, is an immense and costly logistical challenge. But the trip to Africa is complicated by a confluence of factors that could make it one of the most expensive of Obama’s tenure, according to people familiar with the planning.

The first family is making back-to-back stops from June 26 to July 3 in three countries where U.S. officials are providing nearly all the resources, rather than depending heavily on local police forces, military authorities or hospitals for assistance.

The president and first lady had also planned to take a Tanzanian safari as part of the trip, which would have required the president’s special counterassault team to carry sniper rifles with high-caliber rounds that could neutralize cheetahs, lions or other animals if they became a threat, according to the planning document.

But officials said Thursday that the safari had been canceled in favor of a trip to Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner.

The right wing hypocrisy is glaring. Not a word from anyone when former presidents George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush or Ronald Reagan went on vacation but they freak out when President Obama makes a move. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also went to Africa and I can’t remember hearing any freak-out over those trips. Would President Obama’s critics prefer that he take Delta Airlines on official U.S. business?

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

Author: JANET SHAN

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7 Comments

  1. President Obama cancels safari trip in Tanzania because of the cost of security, during his trip to Africa later this month. Of course, he won’t be applauded for it…

    I’ll applaud him for it. It’s nice to see leaders cutting back on expenses when many government employees are asked to do the same, and many people are still out of work.

  2. Side trips can be made in retirement. That said, right wing blogs have been complaining about Obama trips since he traveled to the Capitol building on January 20, 2009. Here are some fact checker statements on complaining emails:

    http://www.factcheck.org/2011/.....president/

  3. Would President Obama’s critics prefer that he take Delta Airlines on official U.S. business?

    I wouldn’t wish traveling on Delta Airlines on anyone. They are the major airline at the international airport near me. They have managed to combine the skankiest airplanes with the rudest service and most unreliable travel, all for the highest airfare (A co-worker just booked travel to Chicago on United for $380. Delta’s price: $1310.) Flying Air Force One is probably lower cost than a Delta ticket.

  4. “any journey such as the one to Northern Ireland and Germany is an immense and costly logistical challenge”. Seriously??? How broke ARE we? Can he go to Florida maybe with the kids this year…what?
    Still it is an act of solidarity with those who have been affected by the Republican caused sequester and I respect him for doing it.

  5. Not Delta. American Airlines. And he’d be helping a company recover from bankruptcy.

  6. Probably a good idea and the money saved can go towards one of those entertainment parties at the WH (fourth year in a row I haven’t been invited) as they are cheaper than Safaris. BTW, there are nice wild life spots in SA, not far from Cape town and probably doable by helicopter.

  7. Of course any American President who travels anywhere, necessarily requires a lot of money to do so.

    About a year or two ago, I actually wrote to FactCheck.org. about a report which accused the President of spending large amounts of taxpayer’s money for a lavish vacation in Hawaii. They informed me that, up to the same point in his Presidency, George W. Bush had actually spent more on similar trips and that having the money provided by the government, rather than having it come out of the President’s own earnings, is traditional and just par-for-the-course.

    We have got to understand that, unlike the rest of us, The POTUS cannot just surf the internet to make reservation at the local Motel Six, and that he is accompanied by a huge entourage of advisors and security personnel who all need rooms and places to stay during the trip. Neither can the President fly second class on Western airlines, to save money—he has to travel on Air Force One with all of his required people by his side. In short, it is very common for vacations, or diplomatic trips, to cost a large amount of money, and, many other Presidents have spent more than Obama on similar trips. I also assume that these estimations of costs are made with historic changes in the cost of living in mind.

    For any of us who obsessively dwell on criticising our Presidents about such petty things, it is like watching our neighbor’s house burn down while commenting about what tacky drapes they had—meanwhile forgetting to call the fire department to try and rescue the home!

    Politics will always involve petty complaints, and, criticizing any President in this way is just another example of that pettiness!

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