Trump Wants To Change The Look Of Air Force One. Democrats Go Crazy.
Billions of people around the world know the distinctive plane on sight, the robin’s egg blue fuselage with the U.S. flag on the tail.
It’s Air Force One, the plane former president George W. Bush once joked is worth a few thousand votes from people who just catch a glimpse of the iconic 747.
Of course, Air Force One is just the designation of whatever plane the president of the United States is on, but the Air Force keeps a stable of specially designed planes for the president to use.
Every generation, the planes are replaced with new models. But the colors have remained the same since the 1960s, when first lady Lady Jacqueline Kennedy reportedly helped French-born American industrial designer Raymond Loewy with the color scheme.
President Trump on Thursday unveiled a new look for the presidential plane — and one major change was the elimination of that famous robin’s egg blue. Showing a set of drawings for the new plane in the Oval Office, Trump told ABC News that “We had different choices here,” adding that he had come up with the design himself.
The Kennedy-era paint scheme is gone, replaced by red, white and navy blue, similar to the American flag. The pair of $3.9 billion Boeing 747s won’t be put into service until 2024, so Trump might never fly on the planes.
“Here’s your new Air Force One — and I’m doing that for other presidents, not for me,” Trump told ABC News.
"Here's your new Air Force One."
Pres. Trump shows @GStephanopoulos mock-ups of his vision for the next generation of the presidential aircraft during an exclusive @ABC News interview. https://t.co/9SiLyaVVjy pic.twitter.com/bdlDZMns8Q
— ABC News (@ABC) June 13, 2019
Meanwhile, members of Congress — Democrats, of course — are objecting to the amount of control the president has over the design of the presidential plane.
In a Wednesday hearing of the Democrat-run House Armed Services Committee, Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) said Air Force One is “a representation of the power of the United States, the power of the president.”
“If someone wants to change its appearance, its scheme, then we ought to have a say in that,” he said.
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) said Congress should be able to restrict the amount of money that can be spent on … paint.
“Additional paint can add weight to the plane,” Courtney said, and “additional fixtures inside can also add to cost and delays to the delivery of the plane.”
Courtney introduced an amendment during the hearing on Wednesday that would limit spending on “interior, paint and fixtures,” essentially giving Congress control. The measure passed on a 31-26 party line vote.
But Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama said those efforts simply look “like an attempt to just poke at the president.”
“Prior to 2017, I don’t recall attempts to block things like paint colors,” he said.
“They want to impede the president at every turn,” said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA).
Other critics said Trump was merely recreating the color scheme of his own 747.
In a light moment, Trump was asked if it had an escape pod similar to the one in the “Air Force One” movie starring Harrison Ford.
“You know what, there are a couple of secrets I don’t think we’re supposed to be talking about,” Trump said.
The plane does have massive defensive and offensive capabilities — air-to-air missiles, along with a classified design to withstand an air attack. The plane is outfitted with electronic counter measures (ECM) to jam enemy radar and can fire flares to throw heat-seeking missiles off course. The 747 has 85 onboard telephones (along with 238 miles of wiring), two kitchens capable of feeding 100 people, 19 televisions and, of course, wi-fi throughout.