In the wake of Michelle Obama’s revelation to Jimmy Fallon that her daughters Sasha and Malia “want nothing to do with us,” (a feeling many share), it is worthwhile noting that just a couple of years ago the First Lady officially termed them “Senior Staff” for official purposes. We know this only thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. The organization had at first requested the information pursuant to FOIA, but when denied, was forced to sue.
The trip took place June 21-27, 2011, and was taken by First Lady Michelle Obama, her family and her staff to South Africa and Botswana. Judicial Watch writes:
- According to U.S. Department of Defense’s published hourly rates for the C-32A aircraft used for the trip, Judicial Watch calculated the total cost to American taxpayers was $424,142 for use of the aircraft (34.8 flight hours x $12,188 per hour). (The C-32 is a specially configured military version of the Boeing 757.) Other expenses – meals (off the plane), transportation, security, various services, etc. – have yet to be disclosed.
- The passenger manifests confirm the presence of Obama’s daughter’s, Malia and Sasha on the trip. The two girls are listed as “Senior Staff.” The manifests also list Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, and niece and nephew, Leslie and Avery Robinson, as well Mrs. Obama’s makeup and hairstylist (Carl Ray and Johnny Wright). [emphasis added]
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