In 2010 New Delhi TV claimed President Obama’s trip to India would cost $200 million per day. That was ludicrous, and the incident was made fun of during episode 4 of Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series The Newsroom. The 10 day trip very much did not cost $2 billion.
A U.S. Presidential trip abroad is an expensive proposition, for security and to bring along the equipment and people that allow that individual to continue to fully conduct business and handle contingencies that may arise. The President remains, of course, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military and unexpected situations arise.
However U.S. Presidential trips aren’t quite like how Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohamed bin Salman travels.
No detail has reputedly been too small for Bin Salman, who arrived in Athens with a 700-strong delegation on seven planes – one reportedly decked out as a hospital in waiting. In a report describing the crown prince’s penchants and excesses, the Greek news portal iefimerida said 350 limousines had been requested by the mission – a demand that so outstripped supply that vehicles had to be brought in from Bulgaria and Germany.
For his stay at the Four Seasons on the Athenian riviera, 180 suitcases filled with clothes, shoes and other personal items had been sent to the hotel. “A few days ago a special order arrived for bulletproof glass panes, which were installed with a giant crane in the suite Bin Salman has taken over,” iefimerida reported on Wednesday.
I’d surmise that this reporting was along the lines of NDTV’s story about President Obama, except that Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed uses an escalator as air stairs when traveling abroad.
Video: @HHShkMohd arrives in Saudi Arabia to attend quartet meeting which Saudi @KingSalman called for to discuss ways of supporting Jordan. pic.twitter.com/8CeiHHw0HE
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) June 10, 2018
And when Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s father traveled to Moscow in 2017, his golden escalator sadly broke.
Since MBS owns the planes, at least he doesn’t have to pay extra for checked bags. Nonetheless I’m still inclined to wonder if there’s exaggeration over the 350 limousines.