Malia Obamas Trip to Mexico: $115,500.87
The following is a breakdown of the costs as detailed in the documents:
Ground transportation: $23,964.81
Vouchers: $21,636.14 (not itemized)
Support Charges: $449.66 (travel for one from Mexico City to Oaxaca, not itemized)
Try to keep up. Shasta and Malaria are in Aspen now, trying to wind down from their Mexico vacation.
The First Family lives pretty high on the hog, and that’s fair game for criticism. Malia’s trip to Mexico, however, is a different matter. This was a school trip and a routine part of the Sidwell program. The kids were doing a spring break service project. I’m skeptical of how much service work actually gets done by 8th graders, but the real point of course is to give the kids some exposure to a foreign culture and to third world poverty. For children of privilege, I expect this is a useful experience. (This is the primary purpose of the Peace Corps as well, although in the Peace Corps the taxpayers foot the bill; Sidwell families pay their own way.) Many of the Sidwell kids will have vacationed abroad with their families, but that would have given them the perspective of tourist locations and good hotels. Village life is different.
We know a Sidwell girl who was on the trip. There was nothing lavish about it. Malia had a secret service detail, and that accounts for the added expense. I’m told that the security was only for Malia. Since the group spent a lot of time in scattered locations, most of the kids were not close to the security team most of the time. There were school chaperones and local hosts, and the parents were comfortable enough with the security situation, at least in the areas visited.