In a move that can only fuel charges that his week-long trip to Africa is a de facto vacation, President Obama is taking his mother-in-law Marian Robinson and niece Leslie Robinson with him on Air Force One, which departed the United States this morning. Leslie is the daughter of First Lady Michelle Obama’s brother Craig.
Obama is already being accompanied by Mrs. Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia. It’s not clear if other family members got aboard the presidential jet this morning. The press pool reporter, who eyed the Obama relatives, doesn’t mention any.
The Obamas have been criticized for the massive expense of the trip, which reportedly could reach up to $100 million. Obama was ridiculed when news surfaced that he had been contemplating a safari that would have required Secret Service agents to act as snipers in case animals tried to attack the first family.
The White House says the excursion is an important step toward building democracy and advancing U.S. strategic interests in Africa.
The press pooler slyly noted that Bo did not make the cut for the trip.