First Lady Michelle Obama will be accompanied by her children and her mother on her trip to China, which begins today. But she won't be accompanied by the press.
"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," reports the New York Times.
The White House is defending the first lady bringing her family along for the ride by saying it's what the Chinese would want. "Tina Tchen, Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff and a first-generation Chinese-American, said a multigenerational visit would be appreciated by the Chinese, who value tradition," says the Times.
But in America, the trip is not without controversy. "Mrs. Obama is drawing scrutiny for her decision to travel with her mother and her two daughters, who are on spring break, bringing to mind a vacation she took to Spain in 2010 with her daughter Sasha and some friends. She and her entourage paid for their lodging and entertainment. But the security cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, and the trip was criticized as lavish.," reads the report.
"Some conservative commentators are calling the China trip a junket. The White House will not say how much it will cost."