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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman November 25, 2019

Trump, Obama story on ‘vacation scam’ was fabricated by satire website

Did President Donald Trump send former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama a bill to "repay the government" for vacations they took that weren’t "official state business"? 

The account is just as false now as it was when it first appeared in 2017.

The bogus story recently resurfaced in an Oct. 29 Facebook post that has been shared over 21,000 times. A portion of the lengthy post reads:

"... TRUMP JUST ENDED OBAMA’S VACATION SCAM! Before Obama left office, he arranged with the State Department for a series of ‘official visits’ to foreign countries spanning the next 20 years. Using discretionary funds from the Office of Presidential Visits and Vacations, Obama was planning to weasel what would have been another $2.1 billion in free vacations for him and up to 24 members of his family plus staff and even a dog sitter until the year 2036"

The post continues, saying that Trump canceled the Obamas’ plans, recalled Secret Service agents and sent the Obamas a $214 million bill for vacations they took that weren’t "official state business." It claims the Obamas spent 692 days on vacation.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

No, President Obama didn’t take $2.1 billion from the "Office of Presidential Visits and Vacations" — an office that does not exist — to pay for family vacations for the next 20 years, and President Trump didn’t end the "vacation scam" and bill the Obamas to repay a portion of the money. 

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None of this is true. The entire story was fabricated and originated from satirical website, "The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense," which is a part of a network of satire and parody sites. 

We were able to track down the article, which was posted in February 2017, using the internet archive tool Wayback Machine. 

The website includes a disclaimer that reads:

"All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney. Pictures that represent actual people should be considered altered and not in any way real."

According to CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller, who keeps records of presidential travel, President Obama took 29 vacation trips over his eight years in the White House. The trips spanned all or part of 235 days (not 692). He also made 39 visits to Camp David, totaling around 93 days.

Even though the original story was published with a disclaimer, versions of the account were copied and pasted in social media posts with no such explanation and circulated as real news. 

We rate this Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Facebook post, Oct. 29, 2019

Wayback Machine, The Resistance LLOD: BREAKING: Trump Just Ended Obama’s Vacation Scam And Sent Him A Bill You Have To See To Believe, Feb. 13, 2017 

Wayback Machine, The Resistance LLOD About Us, Accessed Nov. 25, 2019

Snopes, Did Trump Just End Obama’s ‘Vacation Scam’?, Feb. 14, 2017

FactCheck.org, Trump Didn’t Bill the Obamas, June 19, 2017

Washington Post, Five myths about presidential vacations, Aug. 15, 2014

Cleveland.com, Presidential vacations: Which commander in chief took the most time off?, Aug. 2017 

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Trump, Obama story on ‘vacation scam’ was fabricated by satire website

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