Taxpayers charged $34 million to make Trump’s backup jets more ‘presidential’

With the announcement of a new Boeing contract to “update” Air Force Two, the Pentagon is slated to spend $34 million taxpayer dollars to make Donald Trump’s presidential jets fancier.

Defense One reported that over the past 14 months, the Defense Department has spent tens of millions of dollars contracting aircraft monolith Boeing to “refurbish” the interiors of two backup Air Force One planes that are frequently used by the vice president and cabinet officials.

The most recent contract, as first reported by the Washington Examiner, is for more than $16 million to create an “appearance more commensurate with [the] presidential section” of Air Force One on the twin-engine 757. According to the Pentagon, the latest Boeing contract will include “upgraded interior elements,” “refurbished interior elements” and “painting and cleaning.”

This isn’t the first of such contracts the DOD has taken out with Boeing. Defense One noted that on June 30, 2017, the Pentagon awarded the corporation nearly $18 million for “engineering support services for refurbishment of the interior” of the other backup Air Force One.

[Raw Story]

Trump lashed out at aides after seeing Melania’s Air Force One television tuned to CNN

President Trump reportedly lashed out at aides after seeing first lady Melania Trump’s television broadcasting CNN on Air Force One.

An internal email obtained by The New York Timessaid that the president caused “a bit of a stir” on the aircraft because the television was tuned in to the network he continuously blasts as “fake news.”

Officials said in the email that they would turn the televisions to Fox News for future flights, according to the Times.

It is well-known that Trump’s network of choice is Fox News, and he has repeatedly praised their coverage while disparaging other networks, in particular CNN.

At a joint press conference earlier this month with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump refused to take a question from CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, instead moving on to Fox News’s John Roberts.

“CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN,” Trump said. “Let’s go to a real network.”

Earlier Tuesday, while speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national conference, Trump attacked the press as “fake news” and told audience members not to believe what they see and read in the media about the economy.

“Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” he said. “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.”

A memo circulated on social media earlier this year claiming that the Food and Drug Administration was ordered to display Fox News on all televisions in one of its units, which the FDA denied.

[The Hill]

Update

Melania’s spokeswoman surprisingly later said she’ll watch “any channel she wants.

Trump Club Members Seemingly Invited Onto Air Force One For Private Tour

In another episode of the president mixing his business dealings with his White House role, several members of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and Trump International Golf Club were seemingly invited on a tour of Air Force One last year, per a report from BuzzFeed News.

According to records obtained by the online news outlet — including an invitation and government scheduling records received via the Freedom of Information Act — the Trump club members were scheduled to visit the White House’s private jet on February 18, 2017 at Atlantic Aviation FBO at Palm Beach International, which is near the president’s South Florida resort.

BuzzFeed News was able to discern the invite from other standard tours, since no official tour guide was named and the dates of those tours matched with the invitations. Between the two tours, 14 people were set to participate, though it is not clear how many actually did, as members of the Trump clubs did not respond to BuzzFeed News when asked for comment.

Eight of the 14 people invited are connected with the Arrigo Automotive Group in West Palm Beach, Florida, including the company chief Joe Arrigo and his wife, as well as his kids Jim Arrigo and John Arrigo and their spouses — all of which are members at Mar-a-Lago and Trump International Golf Club.

Stephanie Grisham, who was a spokesperson for the White House at the time of the tours but now assists First Lady Melania Trump, defended the move.

“This is something that has been done in past administrations going back years and is not out of the ordinary,” Grisham said. “Then they are also most likely longtime friends of the President. You have to keep in mind that Mar-a-Lago has been the President’s home for many years.”

Current White House officials did not comment on the matter.

[Mediaite]

Trump Describes The “Trumpertantrum” He Would Throw Over Air Force One Staircase Mishap at G-20

Donald Trump said Monday that he would have left the G-20 summit in China over a logistical flap that left President Obama disembarking Air Force One onto a plain metal staircase.

The president’s subdued arrival on Saturday afternoon, from a secondary exit on the presidential plane, stood in contrast to other world leaders who departed their planes onto red-carpeted stairs — and some, including Trump, perceived it as a snub by Chinese officials.

They won’t even give him stairs, proper stairs to get out of the airplane. You see that? They have pictures of other leaders who are … coming down with a beautiful red carpet. And Obama is coming down a metal staircase,” Trumps said Monday at the beginning of a roundtable with labor leaders in Brook Park, Ohio.

“I’ve got to tell you, if that were me, I would say, ‘You know what, folks, I respect you a lot but close the doors, let’s get out of here,’” he added. “It’s a sign of such disrespect.”

The Clinton campaign quickly seized on the comments and criticized Trump’s temperament. “Temperament Update: Trump would leave G-20 mtg b/c the staircase offended him and he was wrong abt the staircase,” tweeted Clinton spokesperson Jesse Ferguson.

Trump has regularly accused Obama of failing to show strength against foreign leaders and has pointed specifically to Air Force One arrivals to make his point. He made similar claims that Obama had provoked a national embarrassment when Obama visited Cuba and Saudi Arabia earlier this year, calling decisions by the heads of state not to greet Obama at the airport “unprecedented.”

“The truth is they [other countries] don’t respect us. When President Obama landed in Cuba on Air Force One, no leader was there, nobody, to greet him. Perhaps an incident without precedent in the long and prestigious history of Air Force One. Then, amazingly, the same thing happened in Saudi Arabia. It’s called no respect,” Trump said in April.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker rated that comment false, giving it four Pinocchios and noting that heads of state have opted not to greet American presidents on airport tarmacs in the past.

Trump, talking about the staircase, added that he “guaranteed it was built in China, it wasn’t built here, okay?” The stairs in question, which folded out from the center of the plane, were part of Air Force One.

(h/t Washington Post)

Reality

This is yet more evidence that Donald Trump does not have the temperament to be a world leader on a global stage if he would throw a fit over a small logistical mishap.

Media