With only a few years left in the White House, Barack Obama is now the most “internationally well-traveled” president through five years, according to a new report from the National Taxpayer Union Foundation.
President Barack Obama arrives at the White House in Washington, early Friday, March 21, 2014, from a trip in Florida. (AP)
He is also “flying the most expensive-to-operate Air Force One to date.”
Citing data obtained recently by the Washington Examiner, the report said it cost approximately $228,288 per flight hour to operate Air Force One in fiscal year 2013, an increase of 27 percent from the National Taxpayer Union Foundation’s previous estimate of $179,759.
The report acknowledged that the $48,535 increase may seem miniscule when compared to other government expenditures, but considering that the president’s trips often involve thousands of miles, it actually adds up to quite a lot of taxpayer dollars.
For example, the president’s current trip to Europe, which will involve roughly 29 flight hours between Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome, Riyadh and then back to the nation’s capital, should cost approximately $6,620,352, according to the report.
The report noted that in September 2013, Obama spent a total of 24 days abroad and visited 13 countries.
He “spent three days abroad as he visited Russia and Sweden to meet with those countries' respective leaders,” the report stated, adding that he was originally scheduled to spend eight days in October visiting Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei as part of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
The president’s travel plans were cut short after a fight over repealing Obamacare prompted the partial government shutdown.
Later, after the passing of Nelson Mandela in December, Obama made a last-minute trip to South Africa, adding to the final tally of countries he visited that year.
The following chart shows how Obama's travels in his fifth year as president compares to previous presidents:
And this graphic, which focuses on the cumulative totals through 2013, reveals that Obama has “taken more trips and spent more time abroad after five years in office than any other modern president,” the report stated.
Still, the report noted, Obama’s trips have been much shorter when compared to past presidents.
The above figures are rough approximations and do not account for the cost of transporting the president’s Secret Service detail and diplomatic entourage, backup aircraft, land vehicles and advance security teams, the report said.
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