NEWS AND OPINION:
President Biden’s regular trips to his home state of Delaware have cost taxpayers at least $11 million since the start of his presidency, according to a meticulous analysis by Fox News Digital. It uses simple but effective math to reach that conclusion.
Mr. Biden has made 101 flights between the White House or Joint Base Andrews and Delaware aboard Air Force One or Marine One. The source of this number, the analysis said, is former CBS newsman Mark Knoller, who has long tracked and quantified the comings and goings of U.S. presidents.
Now let’s go on to the math.
“Public documents from the Department of Defense comptroller show that the Marine One helicopters used by the president cost between $17,065 and $20,206 per hour. The helicopter trip between the White House and locations in Delaware takes roughly an hour, according to the president’s schedule,” wrote Patrick Hauf, who covers the White House for Fox News Digital.
“Air Force One’s operational costs are $177,843 per hour, and the trip to Delaware takes roughly 30 minutes, according to the president’s schedule. This puts the total operational costs for the trips, including each method of transportation, at about $4 million,” Mr. Hauf continued.
Then there are the extras.
“Documents obtained by the New York Post last year showed a Secret Service cost of $1.96 million on the president’s first 16 trips to Delaware. A per-trip cost from these data applied to the president’s now 57 trips leaves an approximate $7 million tab for taxpayers,” Mr. Hauf said.
“The president has other, quite comfortable options for the weekend. The White House itself is one of the nation’s most beautiful mansions. Additionally, the president can also avail himself of the country retreat at Camp David, which is only a half-hour chopper ride away. He has been there 19 times as president, far less often than he goes to Delaware,” he said, also noting that the final price does not include such incidental costs as meals and lodging for White House staffers.
JUST THE FACTS
Media coverage of the illegal immigration crisis on the southern U.S. border can be sketchy, biased and polarized from time to time.
Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee want to remedy some of the confusion — and have issued a straightforward fact sheet titled “Startling Facts.” The sheet offers clear data and trends in the border region, based on federal, state and local sources.
“Since President Biden has been in office, there have been over 4 million migrant encounters at the Southwest border, in addition to over 1 million known gotaways who evaded U.S. Border Patrol agents in the last two years. This is larger than the population of Los Angeles,” the fact sheet advised.
It’s also free to download. Find the fact sheet — ready to go — at Republicans-homeland.house.gov under the Recent Releases section.
THE DESANTIS STRATEGY
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis does not appear to use public-opinion polls alone to shape his political leadership activities.
“The job of a leader is not to stick your finger in the wind and try to contort yourself to wherever public opinion may be trending on one given moment. No, the job of a leader is to set out a vision, to execute that vision, to show people that it’s the right vision and to deliver concrete results. And when you do that, the people respond,” he told his audience at the recent leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
“What we’ve shown in Florida is you can stand up for truth, you can stand on principle, you can fight the woke elite, and you can win. And I think this is important because the survival of the American experiment requires a revival of the enduring American principles that make this country unique,” Mr. DeSantis continued.
“Florida’s formula is that everything we do is rooted in those founding principles of our country. We douse it with a very heavy dose of common sense, which is in very short supply nowadays. And we buttress that by having the courage to lead on issues where you know you may get incoming fire — but that’s the price of leadership nowadays,” he advised.
ABOUT THOSE MELTDOWNS
Elon Musk’s surprise decision to invite former President Donald Trump back on Twitter caused much angst among liberal Democrats who are not particularly fond of the 45th president.
The hashtags #ElonIsDestroyingTwitter” and #RIPTwitter,” led the list of the most popular Twitter topics for quite some time on Monday.
“Whether or not President Trump decides to actually return to the platform as an active user, this marks an important moment for free speech in America,” commented the Republican Study Committee in a statement with a snappy title: Making Twitter Great Again.
FirstTV — home to broadcast hosts Bill O’Reilly and Dana Loesch, among others — also has taken note of this political and cultural moment. The digital broadcaster has cited a few of the public reactions in an analysis titled “Libs Explode: Here Are the Most Hilarious Lefty Meltdowns.”
Here are just a few — expressed on Twitter, of course:
“Elon Musk is letting a man who led a violent Insurrection to overthrow the United States Government back on this platform. Letting the Lies and Disinformation continue to poison the American bloodstream” (actor Rob Reiner).
“Who else never followed Trump on Twitter the first time, and won’t follow him now? Show those hands” (actor Billy Baldwin).
“Memo to Elon, freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom to incite an insurrection.” (former Labor Secretary Robert Reich).
GET BACK ON TRACK
There is serious concern about a potential railroad strike now that a fourth rail union rejected a tentative agreement brokered by the Biden administration among the labor unions and freight railroads.
“Millions of hard working Americans rely on the freight rail system for their jobs and the economic security of our country. A nationwide rail strike during the peak holiday season will be devastating for American businesses, consumers and the U.S. economy,” warned Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation.
A strike will threaten “business resiliency” and add to inflation woes, he said.
The American Association of Railroads has already advised that a nationwide rail shutdown could halt nearly 7,000 freight trains and cost more than $2 billion a day.
“Congress must intervene immediately to avoid a rail strike and a catastrophic shutdown of the freight rail system,” Mr. Shay advised.
“Eight of the 12 unions have ratified the agreement, while four have rejected it. The parties must work out the issues and ratify the contract without a disruption to the system. If not, Congress must step in to prevent a strike before the end of the cooling off period on December 8,” he advised.
POLL DU JOUR
• 66% of U.S. adults say the U.S. is “off on the wrong track”; 88% of Republicans, 69% of independents and 46% of Democrats agree.
• 22% overall say the nation is “heading in the right direction”; 7% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 42% of Democrats agree.
• 12% don’t know whether the nation is on the right or wrong track; 5% of Republicans, 14% of independents and 12% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: An Ipsos poll of 1,005 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 14-15.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.