Obama’s Africa Trip Could Cost $100 Million
14 June 2013
President Barack Obama’s trip to Africa later this month could be one of the most expensive of his tenure, costing the government as much as $100 million.
According to a confidential internal planning document obtained by The Washington Post, hundreds of Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania, which the first family will visit from June 26 to July 3.
A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency.
In addition, military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks carrying bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the Obamas will stay. And fighter jets will fly in shifts to provide around the clock coverage over the president’s airspace.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama also had planned to take a Tanzanian safari during the trip, which would have required a special counterassault team to carry sniper rifles in the event of a threat from wild animals, the Post reported, citing the document.
But the safari was 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, officials told the newspaper.
In total, the Obamas’ Africa trip could cost $60 million to $100 million, a person familiar with planning for the journey told the Post.
Among the 56 vehicles for the trip are parade limousines, a specialized communications vehicle, a truck that jams radio frequencies around the presidential motorcade, a fully loaded ambulance, and a truck for X-ray equipment.
Photo: Barack Obama and his friend United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at a reception