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White House defends Obama's $100 million Africa trip

FILE - In this May 23, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama talks about national security, at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington. Five years into his presidency, Obama presides over a national security apparatus that in many ways still resembles the one left behind by President George W. Bush. Drones are killing terrorism suspects, the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, holds "enemy combatants," and the government secretly collects telephone records of millions of Americans. Credit: AP

According to the Washington Post, President Obama's upcoming week-long visit to the African continent involves moving some 56 support vehicles, dozens of Secret Service agents and military personnel & equipment to the tune of $100 million.

(The White House reportedly scrapped plans for an Obama family safari adventure when the Post inquired about the trip's price tag.)

When pressed by reporters, The Hill reports, the White House today defended the trip's massive cost:

President Obama’s $100 million trip to African offers “great bang for our buck,” the White House said Friday.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes defended the cost of Obama’s upcoming trip to South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania, which could cost taxpayers as much as $100 million.

He said the White House doesn’t determine the cost of security and argued traveling to the often overlooked region would help the U.S.

"Frankly, there will be a great bang for our buck for being in Africa, because when you travel to regions like Africa that don't get a lot of presidential attention, you can have very long-standing and long-running impact from the visit,” Rhodes said.

Before the Obamas depart for Africa on June 23, the president and his family will touch down in Northern Ireland and Germany on a separate foreign trip next week.

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