Michelle Obama gets flack for glitzy Spanish vacation

No Comments

Harsh criticism is being meted out against US first lady Michelle Obama’s four-day "private trip" to Spain with her 9-year-old daughter, Sasha and several Obama family friends.

The price of the trip, which includes stay at the luxury Hotel Villa Padierna, a Ritz-Carlton property often described as one of the world's top 10 hotels. Rates range between $500 and $2,500 a night.

Michelle Obama is being criticised “for taking such a glitzy vacation while most of the country is struggling to make ends meet”.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that the first lady will pay her personal expenses — as will the friends who are traveling with her.

But that only covers a small part of the ultimate expense, given that she has full-time Secret Service protection and has to travel with an entourage of staff. That cost, as well as her travel on board an official Air Force charter plane, is covered by taxpayers.

According to Fox News prior to the first lady's arrival, the State Department had issued a travel warning to Americans advising that "racist prejudices could lead to the arrest of Afro-Americans who travel to Spain."

The wording was reportedly removed from the State Department website Monday, ahead of Michelle Obama's arrival in the country Wednesday.

As the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet reports, by the end of the summer, the first lady will have taken eight vacations.

That includes a June trip to Los Angeles, where she and her daughters attended the NBA Finals, as well as an upcoming trip to the Florida Gulf Coast next weekend and a 10-day visit to Martha's Vineyard later this month with the president.