See text under picture.
I did not mean the First Family should reimburse for the travel — they can’t, it is way too expensive. We also take good care of our First Families and they need to have security and safe travel. My ‘off the record’ was about judgment.
What I intended to convey (and I thought I did) is that, even though other Presidents and First Families did things like this before, and while we want to protect our First Families at all times, this expenditure AT THIS TIME (economy very bad and we are looking for $6 billion to extend unemployment benefits), is poor judgment. This is not the time to spend taxpayer money so lavishly. Mrs. Obama could have flown home on AF1 with her family (and found some other way to celebrate what is an important milestone.)
I would rather see the President set a better example. We just paid for (as we should) the trip for the First Family to go to Hawaii for two weeks. I am glad we did but…there is a limit. I think this separate additional substantial cost is past that limit and when you go past the limit, you are not setting a good example. Someone, sometime has to say ‘enough!’
PS – I did assert that, per the White House Press Release, it was reported that the President was offering these extra days in Hawaii for the First Lady as part of her birthday gift from him. To the extent taxpayers paid for the transportation, that is not his gift but ours.