A recent article in the foreign press supposedly quoting an anonymous foreign official claimed that the president's trip to Asia would end up costing American taxpayers $200 million per day and that 34 navy warships were being used for the trip -- certainly an astounding figure, were it true. Buts it's not even close to true. This hasn't stopped some political opponents of the president, including some elected officials, from trafficking in this claim.
So let us be unequivocal: the numbers reported have no basis in reality. Due to security concerns, we can't get into details associated with security procedures and costs, but it's safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated and President Obama's costs are in line with the costs of protecting previous Presidents.
For the record, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell was also asked about the claim that the President will be accompanied by 34 warships on the trip, and gave an appropriate response:
We obviously have some support role for presidential travel. We don't speak to that in detail for security reasons. But I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy -- some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier -- in support of the president's trip to Asia. That's just comical. Nothing close to that is being done.
Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director. This post appeared first at the White House Blog