According to a calculation by Fox News, next month’s getaway will be Obama’s third most expensive trip as president following his $121 billion visit to India in 2010 and his $98 billion trek to Arlington, Virginia last spring.
While on Martha’s Vineyard, an island resort south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, the Obamas will reportedly be living large. In a ground-breaking exposé Fox says that the White House has rented 12 houses on the island for a total price of $3 million a day.
A jaw-dropping $10 billion has been budgeted for entertainment. Cirque du Soleil is scheduled to give a private $125 million performance. And the White House has paid Disney $4 billion to create a miniature Disneyland on the island for the children.
Michelle Obama has also hired a team of 27 artists to paint portraits of the family while on holiday, and will be paying each a $500,000 a week retainer.
The bulk of the enormous $37 billion cost, however, comes from the elaborate security measures the government is taking to assure Obama’s safety.
Over 78,000 Secret Service agents will protect the president during his stay, at a cost of $1.2 billion a day. And 28 Navy ships – including one aircraft carrier – will guard the island for the duration of the trip.
The aircraft carrier will be equipped with 43 brand-new F-35s ordered just for this mission at a sum of $145 million each. When Obama’s vacation is over, the jets will be dumped into the ocean.
“We understand that some of these expenses may seem unnecessary,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today. “But can we really put a price on Barack Obama’s comfort and peace of mind?”
Some Republican leaders in Washington believe the White House should at least try.
“This is the worst waste of government money since President Clinton’s $300 billion haircut,” says Paul Ryan, U.S. representative from Wisconsin, “When are the American people going to wake up?”