The First Family’s Final Vacation

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After a lengthy vacation, Barack Obama and family touched down at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Monday.

In what is likely their last vacation as the first family, the Obamas spent a relaxing sixteen days in Hawaii, where the president began each day at the gym, before embarking on many rounds of golf and trips to the beach with his family. 


While on their luxurious getaway, the Obamas went on snorkeling trips and took a tour of the Shangri-La, a center for Islamic art and culture built by heiress Doris Duke.

The president closed out his lavish vacation by spending the final day in Hawaii at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, where his grandfather, Stanley Durham, is buried. He then headed over to Bellows Beach for a farewell dinner at Buzz’s, in Lanikai, with family and friends.

The Obama’s celebrated the new year at their Kailua vacation rental, where they attended a luau hosted by the president’s childhood friend, Bobby Titcomb.

Obama did take a brief break from all the fun-in-the-sun to be briefed by his National Security team on Sunday, following the deadly terrorist attack in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve.

Eric Schultz, Obama’s press secretary, released a statement on Obama’s behalf saying, “The President expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, directed his team to offer appropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities, as necessary, and keep him updated as warranted.”

While on the Hawaiian islands, Obama also imposed sanctions against Russia for what the president alleges were cyber-attacks against the U.S. Obama has claimed that the Russian government accessed information in an attempt to sway the U.S. election in President-elect Trump’s favor.

Obama also continued his annual tradition of visiting U.S. troops on Christmas Day by heading over to the Marine Corps Base, in Hawaii, to give a speech to active-duty Marines.

The president began the speech by saying, “I understand that I still have a little bit of rank as ex-president, so I still get to use the gym on base – and, of course, the golf course.”

The president then became more somber, as he paid tribute to military personnel. “I just want all of you to know that it has been the privilege of my life to serve as your Commander in Chief,” he said.

Obama reminded everyone that while many Americans are spending their holidays at home, there are men and women who are spending their Christmas on the battlefield. “As tough as it is to be deployed, the people here in America, back home, understand that every single day you serve, you’re fighting for our freedom,” he said.


President Obama and President Tran Dai Quang arriving at the ceremony

Obama also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the USS Arizona Memorial to commemorate the lives that were lost at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

During a wreath-laying ceremony, the president said, “It is here that we remember that even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.”

Obama also spent part of his vacation talking to President-elect Trump on the phone. The White House relayed that the conversation was “positive and focused on continuing a smooth and effective transition.”

Watch the Obamas return from their Hawaiian vacation, below.


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