The secrecy surrounding Michelle Obama’s vacation to China, which got underway Wednesday, just became a bit more secretive — reporters won’t be accompanying her and her mother and children’s visit to the Land of Dragons and Emperors.
Although the costs to the taxpayer for the trip will certainly be considerable, the White House has so far refused to disclose just how considerable they’ll be. However, the White House staff described it as a “real treat.”
In addition to the costs being a secret, their activities won’t be reported — at least not by the U.S. press. The White House is calling it a “nonpolitical” trip.
“Michelle Obama’s trip to China starting on Wednesday will be nonpolitical, the White House says, a ‘people-to-people exchange’ emphasizing the importance that both nations place on education. As if to underscore the point, no reporters are traveling with the first lady, and she does not plan to give interviews while there,” The New York Times reported.
The Times also noted that just because a trip is labeled nonpolitical, politics more often then not come into play.
But with the United States and China locked in disagreements over trade, cyberweapons, territorial claims and, as always, human rights — and with President Obama preparing to meet with President Xi Jinping next week at a nuclear summit meeting — political overtones will be almost impossible to avoid.
“Politics can be imposed,” said Melanne Verveer, who accompanied Hillary Rodham Clinton to China as her chief of staff, The Times reported. “People will want to put a political spin on the trip.”
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