President’s Decision to Return to Hawaii Will Cost Taxpayers Another $3 Million

President Barack Obama arrives with first lady Michelle Obama, top, and daughters Malia, top left, and Sasha, bottom right, at Honolulu Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, for the start of their holiday vacation, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012.
President Barack Obama arrives with first lady Michelle Obama, top, and daughters Malia, top left, and Sasha, bottom right, at Honolulu Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, for the start of their holiday vacation, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012.

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – President Barack Obama’s decision to rejoin his family on their Hawaii vacation will cost taxpayers another $3.2 million for an already pricey holiday stay.

After arriving in Hawaii on December 22, Obama left First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia on December 26 to return to Washington DC to continue negotiations with Congress to avoid a “fiscal cliff.”

After Congress reached an agreement this week, Obama opted to return to Hawaii, landing at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu  just before 5 a.m. January 2.

The First Family’s Hawaii vacation, taken annually since Obama was elected to office 5 years ago, typically costs taxpayers more than $4 million.

The biggest expense is Obama’s round trip flight to Hawaii via Air Force One.

A Congressional Research Service report released in May 2012 said the plane typically used by the President, a Boeing 747, costs $179,750 per hour to operate. The U.S. Air Force has listed the cost of travel as high as $181,757 per flight hour.

Travel time for Air Force One direct from Washington D.C. to Hawaii is about 9 hours or as high as $1,635,813 each way for a total of $3,271,622 for the round trip to Hawaii and back.

The President will have made two round trips to Hawaii via Air Force One within a matter of days bringing the total for his air travel to more than $6.4 million, and the cost of the trip to more than $7.2 million.

After Sunset At Kailua Beach

Other expenses include the USAF C-17 cargo aircraft that transports the Presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment to Hawaii; housing for U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes around where the President stays; and hotel accommodations at the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki for staff.

Oahu taxpayers pick up the tab for the Honolulu Police escorts, which usually totals around $250,000, and the city ambulance, which accompanies the President 24 hours a day through his entire visit, totaling about $10,000.

On Wednesday, U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats were back in the waterways surrounding the home where the President is staying. They also continue to guard other private homes in their Kailua neighborhood where the Obama’s friends are vacationing.

Since arriving in Hawaii, the President and First Lady attended just one public event – a memorial service for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. They have no other public appearances planned.

While no date has been announced for the First Family’s departure from the islands, the U.S. Coast Guard is enforcing a security zone around Kailua waterways until January 6.

Signs posted in Kailua on the street where the President is staying say there is “no parking” from December 21 to January 6 at 8 p.m.




  1. Except for a few, most sound so envious-covet the seemingly luxurious amenities available to the President. He is on the job 24/7, on our behalf, based on election outcome … his availability and safety in the schedule of his daily commitment is our part of the bargain-tradeoff to uphold … what is so difficult to understand … he has right to a family and observe the same respite we want for our own where home is … look how you look, before casting disparaging thoughts around.

    • Get back to us Trinidad, when you get your invite from the prez to visit. I'm far from jealous. I pay my own way, with my own money that I've earned, not off the back's of the same people I'm asking to suck it up, It'll get better in another 4 years.

  2. It's President Obama's own fault that he had to interrupt his vacation to come back to Washington. He should have spent December deeply involved in the fiscal cliff negotiations so that they could conclude before the end of the year. Instead, he was on the road stumping for his plan. He was NOT doing his job! He does not deserve to waste the taxpayers money flying back to Hawaii again.

  3. Glenn ~ you seem to conveniently forget (due to human mortality), Senator Inouye's passing on December 17th 2012! The President and the Senate Speaker Reid had to make a trip to Hawai'i, in this case; a protocol observance that is part of their official duties. The Hawaii vacation is a scheduled event for the past 4 years – also the Speaker of the House Boenher had walked away from negotiating the "fiscal cliff" talks – should any agreement was reached while the President was away (and he agrees to stpulated points that was in contentious disagreement), he could have "autosigned" his approval, so really, his presence in DC is mute!

    • … It bothers you that he left his family behind (incurring his need to escort them back to DC); immediate transportation had to utilize Airforce One to bring the newly appointed Hawaii Senator and House Speaker Reid back to DC for swearing in the Senate Chamber by Vice President Biden (a protocol), and yes he rode back to "drop in" on cliff scenario … he could have stayed in Hawaii with his family, enjoying a longer vacation with them, in which case, AirForce One would have still had to be utilized, requiring it to fly "empty" back to Hawaii to retrieve the President and First Family. It totals out to the same flying time-cost either scenario … divine providence played a hand in all this rigamarole … I'm content with how it all played out.

    • I totally agree with your concise summary ~stevelaudig! … and as for debt ceiling – the interest incurring by past expenditures not paid on 2 wars approved by the Republican majority is the daily additional debt amount rising owed on the trillions debt amount! The current spending portion approved this "fiscal cliff" for unemployment has been paid by payroll taxes – so has the SS benefit currently in place. States need to apportion their Medicare funded Federal funds that complement State Health Budgets into their Legislature budget approval to care for their citizenry.

  4. I am so tired of people criticizing President Obama for everything he does, and for some of them telling outright lies about the amount of time he has spent on vacation since he has been in office…It amounts to about THREE WEEKS PER YEAR…I am retired, but I was a secretary and was getting FOUR WEEKS A YEAR of vacation at the time I retired. Take a look back in the not too distant past and find out how many days those president spent on vacation.

    • Arlene, did someone else pay for your vacation? Nobody has paid for mine and it never cost over $5000 and that was a good year not a normal vacation. When I fly, I'm on a jet where many people are flying and they paid their way too. If this is fair, then by all means, I want to go on vacation this summer, how much are you willing to pay to allow me to go someone? Nothing? Why? Because I'm not the president? He makes more in 1 year then most people do in 10 years.

  5. There is no hope for some of these people, they are like lemmings, whatever this president says is okay with them no matter what the cost, or the decay of the countries status as the Greatest Nation in history. Both sides suck, but we have no leadership.

    • Leadership! Obama has maintained his stance on change, despite the distracting sidelined lies from the GOP nominees ~ if one man-one vote system in place, Obama easily gets 77% of the population votes, rather than the electoral college system of 2/3 district majority corralling the disricts' vote. Whao of those who voted Obama but the state I live in got all electoral votes for GOP. I am not represented in head count for who I voted. I regret being forced to sounding testy in this forum ~ its the only venues' allowing me to participate in voicing my opinion; I am a registered Independent who made my selection for whom I felt had the leadership qualities that project my values-my principles …

      • … and probably the reason I am siding against a sneering, innuendo smearing faction that apparently support do nothing envious, prejudiced, self pompous partisan Republicans. Lemmings ~ better an instinctive thinking group that swim together for the good of all and country, than a sad sack of sour lemons!

        Good day to you, Terry!

  6. Attention Malia – do hope you're not taken to deleting comments that adhere to rationale … it is offered in respect to arelevant commentor, as a response and attention to their input…. and probably the reason I am siding against a sneering, innuendo smearing faction that apparently support do nothing envious, prejudiced self pompous partisan Republicans. Lemmings ~ better a thinking group that swim together for the sake of all and country, than a sad sack of sour lemons Good day to you ~ Terry!

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