Obama Lifestyle Criticized as ‘Royal’: Author Documents Presidential Vacations, Staffing as Costing $1.4 Billion Annually

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BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – President Barack Obama and his family have taken a $4 million vacation in Kailua, Hawaii, each Christmas, since 2008, courtesy of the nation’s taxpayers.

According to a new book – “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” –by Author Robert Keith Gray, Hawaii Reporter’s investigation into the  vacation expenses on the island of Oahu merely scratches the surface of the $1.4 billion the taxpayers spend in just one year for transportation, housing, staffing, security and entertainment for President Obama and first family.


Gray, who worked within the White House under three presidents and had close ties with two more, notes that while other presidents have taken advantage of perks, the amount of money spent on the first family has risen substantially under the Obama administration, and must be brought under control.

Gray also notes the inequity of taxpayer dollars being spent by Obama for his re-election effort by using Air Force One to travel between campaign stops.

Some of the examples of presidential perks that are highlighted in Gray’s book:

  • There are 26 cabin crewmembers and five chefs on Air Force One.
  • The president’s dog gets its own high-paid staffer, who is always on duty, paid an annual salary of $102,000 last year.
  • On at least one airline flight, Bo the dog and his handler were only passengers aboard.
  • The president has a full-time movie projectionist in the White House theater who sleeps at the White House and is on duty 24 hours a day in case anyone needs to see a movie.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama spent more than 42 days on vacation in one year with security, travel and accommodations paid for by taxpayers.
  • And because the president can appoint high-paid staffers without Senate confirmation, Obama has 469 senior staffers and 43 “czars.”
  • 226 are paid more than $100,000 a year, and 77 are paid as much as $172,000 per year.
  • In 2009, Gray said the military payroll at Camp David was $8 million and were put there serve the First Family and its guests.

“The British spent $57.8 Million on its royal family last year. We Americans spent nearly $2 Billion housing, transporting, entertaining, staffing, our First Family and paying a hefty portion of the president’s campaign expenses,” Gray said.

Gray notes that responsible citizens want the President to be “safe, comfortable and happy” but he maintains the “unchecked growth of out-of control perks, bestowed on this duly elected official without oversight by any individual or governing body, are a dangerous surrender of the democratic process because the seated president has a virtually insurmountable re-election advantage over his opponent.”

Gray said what he discovered during his research for this book led him to view the Obama lifestyle and administration as “our presidency going royal.”

Gray asks: “With our current president’s billion- dollar lifestyle, can we reasonably expect a president to identify with the real-world problems of his citizens, when tens of millions of them are currently unemployed?”

See more about the book on Amazon






  1. I have to admit, this article by Malia Zimmerman is a waste of space. It reflects the complete lack of integrity most writing from the Wrong Wing of the Republican Party — it repeats calumnities others have spawned, despite most of them having been debunked.

    But that's what the Wrong Wing does, repeat lies over and over and over again until gullible readers who are clueless about using Internet search tools accept the lies as "truth".

    • "There is an increased interest in getting them in case they're outlawed," says Tyau.
      Here's one truth, B.O.'s policy is killing U.S. https://www.khon2.com/news/local/story/Gun-and-amm
      "…So-called Assault rifles are another hot ticket item.
      A trend that some lawmakers say is counterproductive to the President's plan to reduce gun violence.
      "They fan some of the hysteria and paranoia thats out there because of an Obama administration and fear their guns are going to be taken away. At the end of the day, it fans sales, increases sales," says Senator Will Espero, (D) Public Safety Committee….."
      Then there's his approval for drones to kill citizens, but not enough space for that.

  2. Well, you just described yourself.
    Use the search tools you mentioned, and look up Frank Marshall Davis while you're at it, and maybe you wont appear so gullible.

  3. The $1.4 billion number includes all expenses related to the Presidency. That's maintenance of Camp David, maintenance of the White House and grounds, Secret Service expenses (nearly half the total amount), several thousand employees of Defense and State departments who provide logistical support to Presidential operations. You can look it up on Snopes. Which the author of the article should have done, but hey — she's not a journalist.

    "According to various sources, including CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, considered the unofficial presidential statistician, President Obama at the end of November 2012 will have spent 84 days on vacation since he became president on January 20, 2009.

    To compare, at that point of their terms, George Bush at spent 180 days at his ranch, Reagan spent 112 vacation days at his ranch, and Bill Clinton had spent the least time off — 28 days. Knoller says President George W. Bush spent 879 days on holiday during his eight years in office." (answers.com)

    I'll go out on a limb and claim that none of the complainers about the Obama family's vacations were complaining about George Bush taking 6 months off during his first term. Right?

  4. Why be mad at the P.O.T.U.S .51Percent voted the great ruler back in office the blame falls directly on the ignorant people who voted him back in. We all knew what kind of ruler he is it is plain stupidity that keeps him their and the Obama media. If you don't like it then 2014 vote the RIGHT people in I also say get the sorry Rino's out and put in new and better people but above all educate ypurself before you choose. No MSNBC CNN ABC CBS do your own research don't take a so called reporter's view.

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