Joe Biden’s vacations – those frequent jaunts over to Wilmington, Delaware, and a couple of other points across the U.S. – already have cost American taxpayers at least $2.2 million, a new report says.
But he’ll have to really step up the pace of his spending in order to come close to matching Barack Obama, whose travel costs hit American taxpayers for almost $115 million.
It was Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, that said on Wednesday it had gotten travel records from the Secret Service in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Those concerned all records regarding Biden’s travel, and shows costs of more than $2.2 million for Biden through Aug. 8 “for travel to Delaware and other domestic locations.”
“The costs of presidential travel and security is of obvious public interest,” said spokesman Tom Fitton. “It is frustrating that after years of litigation through two presidential administrations, the Secret Service and Air Force are still stonewalling the costs of presidential travel.”
The details include $176,000 on hotels for Biden’s Aug. 6-8 trip to Wilmington. Nearly $19,000 went for car rentals and $24,000 for air travel at that time.
His other, frequent, trips there have similar costs, the report said.
But the organization said the Air Force so far has failed to respond to requests for information on Air Force One travel costs for these and other Biden trips. And the Secret Service has not yet provided records for other Biden weekend travel to Delaware.
WND reported some time after Obama left office, the “known total” for his travel expenses totaled $114.7 million.
The report at the time said President Trump’s travel costs totaled $10.4 million.
The Obamas routinely took vacations in Aspen, Hawaii and traveled overseas. Obama also spent some $7 million traveling to and from Chicago.
But presidents aren’t the only ones spending a lot of taxpayer money on travel.
WND has reported a few years back that Judicial Watch had invited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others to give up their “booze” and “junkets” because of the government’s debt.
Judicial Watch had documented that Pelosi spent some $2 million for such trips, including more than $100,000 for in-flight services and alcohol.
Purchased by taxpayers for her trips were Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
The costs were the subject of one of the many confrontations between Pelosi and President Donald Trump. They culminated when Trump denied her the use of a government jet for a junket to Europe.
He said she needed to be in Washington to negotiate a plan to end a partial government shutdown. She stayed in Washington, but still refused to negotiate.
Trump had written to her: “Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.”
It was all part of a tit-for-tat that she started with her recommendation he provide his annual State of the Union in writing. He ended the fracas when he accepted her decision to deny him entry to the House and said he would deliver his speech after the shutdown ends.
Judicial Watch said, “Shutdowns aside, given that our national debt is nearly $22 trillion, it might be reasonable to ask members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to forego both the booze and the frivolous junkets.”
It was Judicial Watch that, during Pelosi’s previous term as speaker, obtained government records documenting her expenditure of more than $2 million on such trips in just two years.
Her plan for a junket to Europe was just another in a long line, the organization said.
“We at Judicial Watch were not at all surprised by this foolishness. For years we have been exposing the lucrative travel our leaders enjoy at taxpayer expense. We have long noted Pelosi’s abuse of the perks of public office that granted her access to luxury military travel. This current expedition is hardly new for her.”
Judicial Watch said: “In 2009, during Pelosi’s first speakership, we uncovered documents from the Department of Defense detailing her multiple requests for military air travel. The documents included internal DOD email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last-minute cancellations and changes.
“In response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, ‘Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?… [T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…’ The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, ‘a history of canceling many of their past requests.'”
The Defense Department at that time pointed out the “hidden costs” of prepping jets, assembling crews, preparing meals and more, even if Pelosi would abruptly then cancel the flight.
Judicial Watch said at the time that the documents included a discussion of House Ethics rules and Defense Department policies as they apply to the speaker’s requests for staff, spouses and extended family to accompany her on military aircraft.
“In May 2008, for example, Pelosi requested that her husband join her on a CODEL into Iraq. The DOD explained to Pelosi that the agency has a written policy prohibiting spouses from joining CODELs into combat zones.”
For the two-year period ending in 2010, her jet travel cost taxpayers $2,100,744.59, including $101,429.14 for “in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.”
The watchdog reported the average cost of her international trips was nearly $230,000, and of the 103 trips, 31 included members of her family.
WND reported at one point her staff demanded that the Air Force provide strawberries on her flight, because it was her birthday.
Not just any strawberries: chocolate-covered strawberries. “Dark chocolate preferred.”
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.