Obama family trip to Aspen cost taxpayers $121,876; Trump family trip costs still unknown

Staff reports
Presidential plane at the airport for the Obama family's visit to Aspen in 2015.
Aspen Times File

When the Obama family took a winter trip to Aspen in February 2015, the four-day trip cost taxpayers nearly $122,000 for the first lady and her two daughters, according to open records requests filed by the group Judicial Watch.

The conservative, nonpartisan foundation based out of Washington, D.C., has been tracking the travel expenses of the Obamas as well as President Donald Trump.

According to documents obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests, the Obamas’ Valentine’s Day weekend trip to Aspen cost the Secret Service $64,807.41. That breakdown included $47,109.28 in hotel costs, mostly from agents staying at the Inn at Aspen at the base of Buttermilk; $3,559.43 for rental vehicles; and $14,138.70 in other travel expenses.

With the addition of $57,068.80 in flight costs (7.4 hours roundtrip for the Air Force), the trip added up to $121,876.21, according to Judicial Watch.

“The Obamas abuse taxpayers with unnecessarily luxurious vacations and travel,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “How many times did the Obama family travel to Aspen prior to the presidency? Misusing the perks of presidency to travel to luxury hot-spots is an abuse that must end. If Congress is looking to save tax dollars, they might consider trimming the platinum travel budgets of this and future presidents.”

The foundation says it is “actively tracking” the travel expenses of President Trump and has sued to get a number of travel expenses released for the president, Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump family. Earlier this month, Judicial Watch released records from the Air Force that showed Trump’s flights to Mar-a-Lago for two weekends (in February and March) cost $1.2 million.

Judicial Watch has sued the Secret Service, which has not responded to Freedom of Information Act requests for records for the cost of security and other services for the Trump family’s March 2017 trip to Aspen. The Trump children, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. — along with their spouses and children — spent nearly a week in Aspen this winter.

“The public controversy over President Trump’s travel will only increase if the Pentagon and Secret Service won’t disclose basic costs and other details as FOIA law requires,” Fitton said. “Extreme transparency should be the Trump administration’s ethic, especially after eight years of lawless Obama secrecy.”