Republicans are attacking President Obama’s planned eight-day vacation in Martha Vineyard’s, forcing White House press secretary Jay Carney to come to the president’s defense.
“I would just check what they said six years ago,” Carney said Thursday in response to GOP criticism of the trip, referring to George W. Bush’s vacations.
The Obama family will begin their vacation in the Chilmark section of Martha’s Vineyard, the classic Massachusetts resort island, on Saturday, and will return Sunday August 18.
“Most of the people in my district could never afford to visit Martha’s Vineyard, and those who could would feel uncomfortable vacationing in a place that has a reputation for being for the elite,” Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart told USA Today.
“When there are so many people out there looking for jobs and Americans are struggling to make ends meet, this sends the wrong message to people who are struggling to survive,” added Maryland Republican Party chairman Diana Waterman.
With Congress in recess, Obama will spend his time relaxing on the island popularized by President John F. Kennedy and later, in a pale imitation, by Bill Clinton. However, he may find it hard to relax.
Obama’s trip comes amid an al-Qaeda terrorist threat that led first to the temporary shutdown of U.S. embassies overseas, then to U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, which killed 12 suspected al-Qaeda operatives Thursday.
Additionally, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa issued new subpoenas to Cabinet agencies this week, including the Department of the Treasury, in his Oversight committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting scandal, which will resume upon Congress’ return from recess. A handful of Republican senators led by Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, meanwhile, are attempting to block continuing-resolution budget bills and potentially force a government shutdown until Obamacare, the president’s signature achievement, is defunded.
On Wednesday, Obama canceled a future summit meeting in Moscow with Russian president Vladimir Putin, claiming that nations had not achieved “enough progress on our bilateral agenda.”
“Russia’s disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship. Our co-operation on these issues remains a priority for the United States,” according to a White House statement, referring to the leaker of details abut the federal government’s NSA surveillance program, who is currently being harbored in Russia.
Clinton spent his 52nd birthday on a twelve-day Martha’s Vineyard trip in mid-August 1998. Beginning his trip immediately after testifying before independent counsel and apologizing to the nation for misleading people about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Clinton spent his trip dealing with the political fallout and also ordering bombing strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan, in retaliation for al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.