One of the most talked about events in last month’s presidential trip to the G-20 economic summit was President Obama’s strange declaration, while in France, that the United States has been an arrogant country. While in the same speech, he also chided the Europeans for their lack of grace and appreciation for the things the U.S has done, he seemed to imply that under his watch, this country will be more humble.
With respect to that trip Dale McFeatters, of Scripps Howard News Service, reports that the president took the following with him to Europe.
A staff of 500, including 200 Secret Service agents
A team of six doctors
The White House chef and kitchen staff with the president’s own food and water
Four speech writers
Air Force One (of course), but also Marine One (the presidential helicopter), as well as a fleet of identical decoys
The Beast, otherwise known as the limo, reinforced with ceramic and titanium armor, that carries tear gas cannon, night vision devices, its own oxygen and is resistant to chemical and radiation attack
I’ll concede that the president of the United States requires a level of security that many other leaders probably do not. And I have no way of knowing whether the force that accompanied him to Europe was just right, or way over the top. Or, for that matter if this was typical of the security detail that would have, or did accompany George Bush and/or Bill Clinton.
But, with that said, a staff of 300 NON-Secret Service personnel? And the White House chef and kitchen staff? SIX doctors? FOUR speech writers? Does any of this feel a bit excessive? Hard to imagine how this “show of force” for a hand full of meetings and a few grand-standing public appearances demonstrates the pledge of a more humble America.
Oh, and don’t you worry about the cost. The current economic crunch only affects private citizens like you and me. And, besides, the president has asked his cabinet to trim $100 million from their budgets. I wonder if in keeping with his pledge of national humility, if THIS trip is reflective of that spirit as well as one of austerity?
HT: My Dad