7:45 AM, Aug 18, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Last week, THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported on a $412,000 contract for 1,280 sleeping room nights at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. However, at least two other hotels were booked for the visit, and a fourth hotel was also used, although no contract has yet been posted. The new revelations more than double the cost to $837,000.
One of the additional hotels was the Elilly Hotel. The contract total was estimated at $246,877.06 for 120 sleeping rooms, but the number of nights covered is not revealed in the paperwork:
Another of the additional hotels was the Capital Hotel and Spa. The estimated total for that contract was $178,433.71 for 1,000 room nights:
According to the hotel's website, the Capital Hotel and Spa was awarded Ethiopia's first five-star rating just days after the president's visit.
The total of the three posted contracts comes to $837,700. However, according to official White House photographer Pete Souza, the president actually stayed in a suite at the Sheraton Hotel, a 294-room hotel in the Ethiopian capital. Souza shared this information in an anecdote on the White House Medium site:
During that same trip in 2006, the Senator [Obama] had also visited the Republic of Djibouti. We weren’t able to accompany him on that leg of the trip. So instead we had to stay overnight at a hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My colleague at the time, Jeff Zeleny — the king of hotel points — was able to secure a suite at the Sheraton hotel. Nine years later, when we returned to Addis Ababa this week, President Obama stayed in the very same suite.
A Florida-based businessman who was in Addis Ababa during the president's visit provided confirmation during an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD. The businessman stayed in the Hilton which "was crawling with support staff and security", but "the President stayed across the street at the Sheraton. The U.S. locals I was working with told me that the U.S. Government had bought out the entire Sheraton while Obama was in Addis."
Sheraton was also the host for at least two meetings the president participated in during his stay, a "multilateral meeting on South Sudan and counterterrorism issues with Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, the African Union and Uganda" and "a meeting with Ethiopian civil society activists."
The value of the Sheraton contract would likely push the total cost of lodging for the Ethiopia leg of the trip over $1 million, but as noted earlier, it has not yet been posted. Contracts for the Kenya stop have not been posted either. The president spent two nights in Ethiopia and two nights in Kenya during his visit to Africa.
7:59 AM, Aug 10, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
When the president of the United States travels, the White House and the Secret Service bring along a tremendous amount of communications equipment. Not only does the Secret Service set up a command post to coordinate communications for the visits, but secure connections are also needed for the president to keep in touch with Washington and the military around the world in case of emergencies.
9:16 PM, Oct 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, is being sent to Ebola-infected nations. The travel plans were announced this evening on Twitter.
"BREAKING: @AmbassadorPower on her way to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana. #EbolaResponse," reads a tweet from the U.S. mission to the U.N.
After freelance crew member tests positive for Ebola.8:48 PM, Oct 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
NBC News chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, and her crew will be flown back to America from Africa to be quarantined, an NBC memo states. The drastic action comes after a freelance member of the NBC crew reporting on Ebola was in fact diagnosed with Ebola.
7:41 AM, Sep 15, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The banner, featuring a cartoon condom with a smiling face, reads: "I am Mr. Condom. Use me whenever you want to have sex. I will protect you from STDs, early pergnancy [sic], and unwanted pregnancy." Across the top of the banner are the words "I took the condom pledge," the slogan from which the non-profit organization responsible for the banner takes its name. And while the stated goal of the group, which recently conducted a fundraising campaign in partnership with the U.S.
9:01 AM, Sep 2, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
President Obama addresses the "people of West Africa" in a video posted Tuesday by the U.S.
8:09 AM, Aug 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama talked about his commitment to Africa in personal terms last night at the White House. "I stand before you as the President of the United States and a proud American," Obama told the U.S.-African Leaders Summit at dinner last night.
7:28 AM, May 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
During a talk to the U.S. embassy staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the first stop on his trip to Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked about what he called the "different cross-currents of modernity" and the challenges they present on the African continent.
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita takes the helm in a beleaguered country under attack from Islamic extremists.1:32 PM, Aug 14, 2013 • By ROGER KAPLAN
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a central figure in Mali’s political life for over 20 years, was the winner in Sunday’s runoff vote in the landlocked West African nation’s presidential election, as his rival, Soumaila Cisse, conceded and congratulated his compatriots on a civic duty well done.
"We take our bangs and we stand in front of important things the world needs to see."7:55 AM, Jul 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In Tanzania, Michelle Obama joked about the "prison-like elements" of being first lady. "[B]ut it's a really nice prison," she said. "You can't complain."
7:49 AM, Jul 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Presidents Obama and Bush will meet Tuesday at a wreath laying ceremony in Tanzania. Via the pool report:
Air Force One arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania at 2:39 pm local time. POTUS and family are expected to be greeted at the bottom of the steps with an arrival ceremony. Your pooler will send details of the arrival ceremony in a separate email.
There was also a gaggle. See below.
7:05 AM, Jul 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Vice President Joe Biden, along with his wife, Jill Biden, will spend this week Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
The White House emailed Biden's schedule:
DAILY GUIDANCE FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT AND DR. JILL BIDEN
12:18 PM, Jun 30, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama is with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the HIV Foundation Center in South Africa, where a 15-year-old "rapper" performed "Hell on Earth" for him this afternoon. Via the pool report:
Potus entered a classroom type building with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was wearing a pink cassock and a large silver cross. About six young boys sat in front of screens.
The program offers after school support, which includes English conversation, and computer learning.
'Frankly, We Don't Need Energy from Africa.'8:38 AM, Jun 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a press conference today in Pretoria, South Africa, President Obama lectured about job creation -- and how to look out for your own national interests:
3:25 PM, Jun 28, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At the Radisson Blu in Dakar, Senegal, President Obama tried to get reporters to write about issues he believes are important. "[M]illet and maize and fertilizer doesn’t always make for sexy copy, but I very much hope that all the press who were in attendance today generate a story about this," Obama told the press.
The remarks came after a Food Security Expo in the African nation.