By Arthur Piccolo
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Mar. 21, 2014: I never tire of covering the Obamas’ many vacations…
which they call official functions for the American people while I call them what they are.
For the next week Michelle and her two daughters are vacationing in China at our considerable expense. Take a look at her draining schedule. Let me put an estimate on the length of the schedule. Most of what is not on the schedule is so called “down time.” Which means that’s when her and her entourage will be privately partying and shopping and dining, etc.
THURSDAY: Beijing, China (no scheduled events)
First Lady Michelle Obama arrives Beijing.
FRIDAY Beijing, China: (total time apprx. 4 hours)
First Lady Michelle Obama joins First Lady Peng Liyuan at Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend Universities abroad.
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Forbidden City with First Lady Peng Liyuan.
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with First Lady Peng Liyuan and joins First Lady Peng Liyuan for dinner and a performance.
SATURDAY Beijing, China: (total time apprx. 6 hours)
First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks to students at the Stanford Center at Peking University. Speaking to an audience of American students studying abroad at Peking University and Chinese students who have studied abroad in the United States, Mrs. Obama will discuss the importance of study abroad and other cultural exchanges as well as the stake our two countries have in one another’s success.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a virtual discussion with American youth. During the conversation, Mrs. Obama will highlight the role of technology in enabling students in the United States to connect and collaborate with students around the world.
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Summer Palace.
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with staff and families of the United States Embassy in Beijing.
SUNDAY Beijing, China: (total time apprx. 3 hours)
First Lady Michelle Obama hosts an education roundtable.
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Great Wall of China.
MONDAY Xi’an, China: (total time apprx. 2 hours)
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum.
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Xi’an City Wall.
TUESDAY Chengdu, China: (total time apprx. 2 hours)
First Lady Michelle Obama visits Chengdu No. 7 High School. During remarks to students, Mrs. Obama will highlight the importance of education in her own life and in the lives of students in both the United States and China.
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with staff and families of the United States Consulate in Chengdu.
WEDNESDAY Chengdu, China: (total time apprx. 1 hour )
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Chengdu Panda Base. The Chengdu Panda Base is currently home to approximately 50 pandas, ranging in age from infancy to full-grown adults. Chinese scientists spend their days working to increase the panda population through research, conservation, and breeding.
First Lady Michelle Obama departs Chengdu.
How much support staff plus, security, and friends of Michelle all combined are on this trip? I’d say a few hundred individuals. Sadly Michelle could not fly on Air Force One since Barack is using it to travel to Europe right now.
The sacrifices the Obamas must make for us! Back to her schedule.
The fact is even most of the “official” functions on the schedule are about going to tourist attractions as the ultimate VIPs with everyone else kept away. “Officially” Michelle and her daughters are going to the Forbidden City, going to dinner and a performance of some sort, a visit to the Summer Palace, of course a trip to the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warrior Museum, and concluding her “official” trip needless to say a visit to see 50 pandas.
How grueling for Michelle. She will be exhausted. I sincerely hope she brought enough staff. I feel confident she did. Michelle knows how to travel. And since most of her waking time is not filled with these fun officials functions, Michelle and friends will have plenty time to recuperate.
Let’s see what the other media has to say about Michelle’s trip …
Not too much. Why? Michelle has BANNED media from the trip. I can’t imagine why. Yes I can and now you know too!
Here is what the Daily Mail reports on Bloomberg Businessweek …
“First lady Michelle Obama will not take questions from reporters or give interviews during her tour of China that begins today, and members of the press corps who usually follows the first family everywhere can’t travel with her entourage.”
“And although she will make a few speeches with reporters in the room, the picture is largely one of an expensive, taxpayer-funded tourism exercise for Mrs. Obama, her two daughters, and her mother – not the official trip the White House has projected.”
“White House press officials haven’t comment on the record about whether a reported ban on question-and-answer interviews applies equally to American journalists and international reporters.”
“And limited information made available to MailOnline suggests that only two out of 22 scheduled events on the trip will afford journalists a chance to do any significant reporting – including a solitary speech – but still without interviewing Mrs. Obama.”
But there is good news too from Michelle’s chief of staff Tina Tchen …
“Tchen said that Michelle and her family “understand the significance… of three generations of family traveling together, which I think the Chinese will appreciate, and will appreciate the ties and the bonds that the Obama family have with one another across generations. And this is a great opportunity for the Obama family to experience that, and I think for the Chinese to see that as well in an American family.”
And it gets better for the rest of us …
“Another “benefit” of the trip according to Tchen, is that Michelle will “share her experience with Americans” when she returns by appearing on PBS and working with the education establishment. Tchen also pledged that the FLOTUS would be “posting blogs and travel information for each step of the trip along the way on whitehouse.gov.”
The Obamas do so much for us. Make so many sacrifices.
How can anyone criticize them???? Easily. Very easily.
Barack & Michelle, America’s King and Queen!