Hardest-earned vacation


Being a former president of the United States is a full-time job— one worth more than $200,000 a year. The Former Presidents Act protects ex-POTUSes from having to fly directly from Washington D.C. to their next job interviews by allotting them a permanent salary. The official language of the act means to “protect the dignity of the office,” but most presidents begin their lives divorced from the Oval Office with a healthy period of rest and relaxation.

After completing his term, President Ronald Reagan was famous for wanting some time to relax in his beloved California ranch; though President Bill Clinton was only marginally less busy as husband to the newly appointed Senator of New York, he set up an office in Harlem and spent a leisurely three years writing his memoirs for publication. When President Barack Obama completed his presidency earlier this year, he only moved across town—giving him plenty of time to learn how to kitesurf.

The Obama family flew directly from President Donald Trump’s inauguration to the first leg of their multi-week vacation. They visited California before travelling to the British Virgin Islands for a tropical vacation that made international headlines. President Obama was a man out of office and out of neckties, showing his commitment to the “very nice vacation” he promised First Lady Michelle by wearing a uniform of leisure. “Obama’s on vacation with the hat backwards,” Philip Lewis, an editor for The Huffington Post, said in a tweet. “He’s never coming back.”

A waterside photo of the former president suited up in a life vest quickly gained traction as a meme. “Obama is clearly winning the breakup,” Twitter handle @dangitobama said.

Whether or not American citizens approve of using the United States government’s funding the trip, the photos are clear: Obama needed a break.

Taylor Kirby
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