The Obamas have touched down in Hawaii for their final Christmas vacation as the First Family, leaving ongoing trouble with Russia and chilly weather behind in Washington, DC.
President Barack Obama waved as he arrived on Friday night at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, adjacent to Honolulu, for the annual family vacation on the island of Oahu.
Obama had the islands on his mind as he capped off his final news conference with a ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ – Merry Christmas in Hawaiian – and couldn’t help but smile as he descended the steps of Air Force One around 11pm.
The president looked thrilled to be reunited with eldest daughter Malia, who has missed a number of official events while enjoying her gap year before starting at Harvard University next fall.
Obama and Malia walked hand in hand as they walked down the stairs to meet Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, Governor David Ige, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and US Pacific Fleet commander Adm Harry Harris.
The president was dressed in casual khakis and a blue button down shirt, while Malia looked effortlessly chic in a knee-length khaki skirt and black off-the-shoulder top.
Following close behind them was Sasha, wearing an easygoing bohemian-style sundress, and Michelle, who was dressed for the holiday season in a bright red dress with her $895 Phillip Lim Pashli satchel to match.
Obama shared hugs and pleasantries with the officials before the family headed to their rented Kailua mansion.
A temporary security zone in Kailua Bay has been set up by the US Coast Guard until January 2.
The vacation will likely include plenty of rounds of golf, as well as hikes, trips to restaurant Alan Wong’s and eating shaved ice.
But Obama won’t be able to avoid work completely this holiday.
The president will make a historic visit to the USS Arizona Memorial on December 27 with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to Hawaii News Now.
Obama and Abe will honor those who lost their lives during the Pearl Harbor attack. It will be first time a Japanese leader has ever visited the site.
The First Family were clearly eager to change into their vacation threads and leave behind the heavy coats, boots and sweaters they were spotted wearing when they left Joint Base Andrews in Maryland around 5.30pm.
Obama still managed to look stylish in the chill, donning a knee-length peacoat over his suit, while Sasha sported knee-length boots and a white winter coat.
The president jetted off for vacation after delivering his final press conference of the year, in which he said he believed Hillary Clinton was not ‘treated fairly’ by the press during the presidential election.
Obama hit on the media’s coverage of Clinton after one reporter asked if he believed Clinton had lost after Russia reportedly hacked the Democratic Party to try and help Trump’s prospects.
‘I think she’s worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and I don’t think she was treated fairly during the election,’ Obama told the press as he avoided critiquing Russia outright.
‘I think the coverage of her – and the issues – was troubling,’ he added.
Obama also critcized the media for its ‘obsession’ with the hacked emails from both the Democratic National Committee and senior aide John Podesta.
But the president didn’t let Russia get off scot-free.
Obama said he warned Vladimir Putin in September to stop meddling in American political campaigns, revealing he told the Russian president to ‘cut it out’ when they met face-to-face at a G20 meeting in China.
The president, who said that there was no further evidence of Russian tampering after his warning, did not go so far as to say Putin was directly responsible for the hacking – but made sure to hint at it.
‘Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin,’ he said.
Obama also blasted Russia, as well as Iran and Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, for its responsibility in the current carnage in Aleppo.
‘The world as we speak is united in horror at the savage assault by the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies on the city of Aleppo,’ he said.
‘This blood and these atrocities are on their hands.’
SOURCE: ANNETA KONSTANTINIDES