U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) waves as he stands with France's President Francois Hollande during his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, February 4, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)
The American public was shocked to learn that Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Europe last month cost over $1 million. The tab included for hotels for himself, staff and security for two nights in London and Paris, according to government documents.
The Weekly Standard first reported that the U.S. State Department obtained contracts with two five-star hotels in London and Paris where the vice president stayed for two nights during a five-day tour of Europe last month. One contract was awarded to the Hyatt Regency London for a total of $459,338.65 while another went to the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand for $585,000.50
Despite the alarming price tag of the trips, a State Department official defended the costs stating, "These costs are nothing out of the ordinary. They are in line with high-level travel across multiple administrations," the State Department official said. "The contract costs cover the entire range of support, including accommodations for military, communications, secret service staff, and other support professionals. Security experts are also required to travel in advance of the president or vice president. Safety and security are not negotiable."
White House press secretary Jay Carney was also question about how much the president's day trip to Illinois earlier this month would cost. However, he avoided answering the question stating, "I don't have a figure on the cost of presidential travel. It is obviously something, as every president deals with because of security and staff, a significant undertaking," Carney said. "But the president has to travel around the country. He has to travel around the world. That is part of his job."