President Donald Trump meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, June 20, 2019, in Washington.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Trump’s interest in Air Force One goes around the bend


Donald Trump spoke briefly in the Oval Office yesterday, sitting alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, largely to emphasize their support for the revised NAFTA. But just as reporters were preparing to start asking about a possible military confrontation with Iran, a model Air Force One was presented on a nearby table.

The American president, who recently bragged about his personal involvement in design elements of the plane, gushed with pride yesterday.

“I was going to say this is the new Air Force One, which we ordered, which they’ve been trying to order for a lot of years. We were able to shave $1.5 billion off the price. When I got here, they were going to spend a lot more money than we spent. And I would say the plane basically is an upgrade over that model.

“We actually are getting things that they didn’t get. We’re saving about $1.5 billion. So it’s going to be terrific. It’s under construction, right now, by Boeing.”

This stood out for me for a few reasons. First, Trump’s previous claims about the project’s costs have failed to stand up to scrutiny.

Second, there’s the fact that the Republican is still eager to change Air Force One’s exterior paint color, which would coincidentally bring it more in line with the colors of his corporate jet.

Third, Trump seems to believe his design changes are a done deal, but Congress apparently feels differently.

But even if we put aside all of these relevant details, there’s still the fact that there’s something kind of weird about the president’s fascination with the subject matter.

As Matt Stieb explained this morning, “The Trump-toddler comparisons regarding temper are pretty worn at this point, but not enough has been said about his shared interests with the preschool set. Big, beautiful walls, pretending to drive trucks, pretending to know about planes – both toddlers and Trump really like the shiny aspects of transportation and infrastructure. From this area of appreciation comes Trump’s brand new toy: a model of Air Force One shown off in the Oval Office on Thursday.”

It’s hard not to wonder what kind of president Trump would be if he took the substantive aspects of his job as seriously as his interest in airplanes.