Each Christmas, President Obama takes a vacation with his family in Hawaii and this year was no different. Last Friday the First Family touched down ready to enjoy their two-week trip. Yet critics like Republican congressman Mike Rodgers attacked Obama for leaving the Oval Office, citing the recent Sony hack and police protests as reasons to stay.
However, compared to past presidents, Obama has taken relatively few vacation days. At this point in his second term, former President George W. Bush had taken a whopping 405 vacation days. Before him, Bill Clinton took a total of 174 days for himself. Another big vacationer was Ronald Reagan, who took a total of 390 days during his time in office. In comparison, Obama has only taken 161 vacation days to date.
As with past administrations, the White House continues to affirm that the president can do anything while on vacation that he would normally do from the Oval Office. With modern technology, communication is rarely an issue or a major concern for the president.
This is not the first time the President has been criticized for taking a vacation during an urgent situation. During Obama's first term in 2009, Obama addressed the "Underwear Bomber" situation on television from Hawaii. On the other hand, in 2012 Obama flew back to the mainland midway through his vacation in order to deal with the fiscal cliff negotiations.
This year critics cited the recent Sony hack attack as a reason for the president to delay his trip. But as for the government's response to the incident, for which the FBI has blamed North Korea, it will probably take several weeks for various departments to come to a conclusive decision, leaving little reason for the president to interrupt his vacation.