by Mark Tapscott Editorial Page Editor, 2011 Washington Examiner
First Lady Michelle Obama’s June 21-27 trip to Africa cost taxpayers nearly half-a-million dollars, according to official documents obtained by Judicial Watch. AP Photos
How much does it cost taxpayers to fly First Lady Michelle Obama, her two daughters and her mother, a niece and a nephew, a hairstylist and makeup artists to South Africa and Botswana to give a few speeches, meet Nelson Mandela, and enjoy a safari on a private game preserve?
Nearly half a million dollars, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) concerning Obama’s June 21-27 journey.
Judicial Watch said the U.S. Air Force provided a C-32 – a Boeing 757 modified by the military for the purpose of flying big-wigs around the world – to fly the First Lady and her entourage to and from Africa, at a cost of $424,142. Another $928.44 was listed as the cost of providing 192 meals for the 21 people who made the trip
The Obama daughters were listed on the manifest as “senior staff.”
“This trip was as much an opportunity for the Obama family to go on a safari as it was a trip to conduct government business,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This junket wasted tax dollars and the resources of our overextended military. No wonder we had to sue to pry loose this information.”
The documents made public by Judicial Watch do not include the total of all costs for the First Lady’s trip, such as expenses for security, transportation on the ground and so forth.