by WorldTribune Staff, June 14, 2019
President Donald Trump’s proposal to change the paint scheme of Air Force One from robin’s egg blue to the red, white and blue of the American flag was slammed by Democrats.
“Here’s your new Air Force One — and I’m doing that for other presidents, not for me,” Trump told ABC News as he displayed artwork of the new paint scheme.
The pair of $3.9 billion Boeing 747s in Trump’s proposed paint scheme change won’t be put into service until 2024.
While Trump may never fly on the newly-painted Air Force One, it was still his idea and some Democrats weren’t having it.
In a June 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. John Garamendi, California Democrat, 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.”
Rep. Joe Courtney, Connecticut Democrat, 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 that would limit spending on “interior, paint and fixtures,” essentially giving Congress control. The measure passed on a 31-26 party line vote.
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,” Byrne said.
“They want to impede the president at every turn,” said Rep. Rob Wittman, Virginia Republican.
The colors of Air Force One have remained the same since the 1960s, when first lady Jacqueline Kennedy reportedly helped French-born American industrial designer Raymond Loewy with the color scheme.
In a lighter moment from the ABC interview, 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.
Air Force One 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 wi-fi throughout.