Though he has previously used his own plane to meet with officials such as outgoing President Barack Obama, Donald Trump traded in his Boeing 757 to ride Air Force One for the first time today. Trump boarded the plane, an instantly recognizable symbol of the U.S. diplomacy, to fly to Philadelphia. He did, however break tradition by boarding without turning around to wave.
Trump has owned his personal plane, which he refers to as the “T-Bird”, since 2011, when he bought it for $100 million, according to a Discovery Channel documentary that featured the plane. But despite the luxuries of his personal plane such as gold-plated seat belts and pillows featuring his family crest, Air Force One is fully equipped with medical facilities, a gym, and technology to avoid heat-seeking missiles.
In the past, Trump critiqued Obama’s use of Air Force One to campaign for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, tweeting, “Why is President Obama allowed to use Air Force One on the campaign trail with Crooked Hillary? She is flying with him tomorrow. Who pays?”
In Philadelphia, Mr Trump was due to attend a Republican Party retreat where he was expected to flesh out his agenda that includes a call for a wall the length of the US-Mexican border and other changes in immigration policy. Also due at the event was British Prime Minister, Theresa May. The two leaders risked brushing shoulders in the corridors but were set to meet formally in Washington DC on Friday.
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