First Lady Michelle Obama has almost completely disappeared from view since the shutdown began October 1, holding not a single public event and canceling scheduled appearances in California.
It’s not clear exactly why she’s not even materializing at the White House, though one likely explanation is that at least a portion of her staff has been furloughed.
What’s more, the White House probably doesn’t want to be seen as staging unnecessary events at a cost to taxpayers as President Obama wages a public relations war with Republicans over the shutdown. Michelle has a reputation for being loose with taxpayer money, at least when it comes to travel.
Nevertheless, it’s odd that she isn’t even holding some kind of small public event at the White House. The first lady isn’t even tending to her own vegetable garden, which is rotting away and being overtaken by weeds. She’s hosted a couple of official private meetings, but that’s been it.
Michelle’s last public appearances were in New York City September 23 and 24, when she listened in to Obama’s remarks at the UN and hosted a couple of events.
Mrs. Obama has two pet causes which she frequently seeks to boost, her “Joining Forces” initiative on behalf of military families and the “Let’s Move” program to encourage kids to eat healthy and exercise. She hasn’t been promoting either in the last few weeks.
What’s more, she nixed a fundraising trip to California scheduled for this past weekend, even though travel costs would have been paid by the Democratic National Committee and the political arm of Congressional Democrats. Taxpayers still would have footed the bill for staff and other logistics, though, including Secret Service protection.
And she might not be out of hiding anytime soon. There are no upcoming events on the first lady’s public schedule.