The Obamas probably already knew this, but there’s no such thing as the president of the United States and the first lady “sneaking off” anywhere to do anything. The Obama’s recent weekend dash to New York City for dinner and a Broadway show were described by some that way. But no, the Obamas’ days of skipping out to the malt shop for a quick, intimate date are over.
The Washington Times estimates the New York sojourn might have cost taxpayers $250,000 once you include the helicopter trips (including decoys) from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base and from John F. Kennedy Airport to a Manhattan helipad. You’d also have the Washington-to-New York flight itself, including accompanying Air Force fighter jets and a huge military cargo plane to carry motorcade vehicles. Then there’s Secret Service, local police and other security personnel. And the list goes on.
The Times notes the Obamas probably paid for the cost of dinner and the show, maybe a few hundred dollars at most. In fairness, the president and his family can’t walk around the block without a lot of the aforementioned security people involved, so some of the New York expense would’ve been incurred even if the Obamas spent a weekend at Camp David watching Netflix.
Yet, flights on aircraft that guzzle jet fuel like there’s no tomorrow quickly jack up this trip’s cost and, as Joseph Curl of The Times points out, recall Obama’s criticism of CEOs who jet around the country on corporate planes that are so unavailable to most Americans — as is the ability to scoot off to the Big Apple for a dinner/date.