In what some have described as a very “petty” move, on Wednesday the Democrat-led House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would force President Donald Trump to obtain approval from congressional Democrats before adjusting the design of Air Force One.
The president had been wanting to design the plane so its color scheme is red, white and blue:
“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/pk06Xt4hJ5 pic.twitter.com/daO2s3wNhN
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 13, 2019
Introduced by Congressman Joe Courtney, the chair of the committee’s Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, the amendment is ostensibly designed to ensure that any design modifications that Trump pursues don’t affect a deal with Boeing reached in 2018 for the aircraft manufacturer to design and produce two new Air Force One jets by the end of 2024.
During hearings Wednesday, the congressman reportedly assured his fellow House members that he just wants to ensure that the president’s decisions don’t add unexpected costs or time delays to the deal, and that Air Force One maintains a “traditional” look.
“We are not handcuffing the Air Force and Boeing. There is some flexibility,” he reportedly said, adding that “additional paint can add weight to the plane, additional fixtures inside the plane can also add cost and delays to the delivery of the plane.”
These explanations were not well-received on social media:
And yet you don’t want Air Force One to be red, white, and blue? You’re why approval rating for Congress is single digits sir. Solve a real problem like illegal immigration, for once in your life. No, you’d rather badger the President with nonsense.
— PrivacyCoins (@PrivacyCoins) June 15, 2019
You are a fool. Opposing a Red, White and Blue Air Force One. Stuff your anti-American crap. VET!
— bb mo (@bradleybmoulto1) June 15, 2019
Rep. Joe Courtney, seriously, your going to bunch about President Trump and the color scheme he wants for the new Air Force One plane for 2024, really, this is what us taxpayers pay you a salary to do? Stop the anti-Trump shit and get something done
— Rick Pulcrano (@pulcrano_rick) June 15, 2019
@RepJoeCourtney how ridiculously partisan can you get to introduce a bill to restrict the colors of air force one! #airforceone #TermLimits we need term limits to get rid of partisan garbage! @SenatorBraun @tedcruz
— Bob (@mightbetrue3) June 13, 2019
— Jim (@WFSecurityNerd) June 12, 2019
@RepJoeCourtney Please don’t tell me you did something as petty as jerk around with getting into a debate over a goddamned paint job on a plane. With everything you could have your panties in a twist over, that was it? What a joke. Trump or no Trump. Pathetic.
— John (@Treblehook66) June 15, 2019
Regarding AF1. You said paint adds weight. AF1 is already painted. No added weight because of paint, just a different scheme. Then you claim you’re not trying to “block” Trump’s plans. BS. Show integrity and tell the truth.
— MaxHenry (@Max_Henry18) June 15, 2019
— Times Up (@RickNYC) June 13, 2019
Speaking on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” on Thursday, former Congressman Darrell Issa echoed this sentiment, describing Courtney’s amendment as “petty,” especially given how “routine” such changes tend to be.
“These kinds of changes are routine — the colors, the patterns and so on. … If you don’t do important things, you do petty things. This Congress has not done anything important lately,” he said.
Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe concurred.
“Look at those big, beautiful, majestic jets. I think they look glorious. They look beautiful in all their glory,” she said.
“Look, as a taxpayer I care more about the fact he was able to negotiate down the contract from Boeing. Saved us $1.5 billion. I care more about that than the color of the jet. I do think that this is petty. I think Congress has its best interest to focus on more important issues. And I think most Americans watching right now would think this is pretty lame.”
Listen to the full discussion below:
What Boothe said about $1.5 billion in savings appears to be correct, thanks to the president’s negotiation skills. After roughly two years of negotiations with Boeing, the president announced last summer that he’d accrued about $1.5 billion in savings.
“Boeing gave us a good deal. And we were able to take that,” he said to CBS News at the time, adding that he “was able to save $1.5 billion” on the deal.
It was during that same interview that he revealed that he was pursuing design changes.
“I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors?’ And we’re not. Red, white and blue. Air Force One is going to be incredible. It’s gonna be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it’s gonna be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate,” he said.
The only good news regarding the Democrats’ latest scheme is that it won’t actually matter until and unless the broader National Defense Authorization Act is passed.
“The provision still has a long way to go, though,” USA Today notes. “The National Defense Authorization Act still has yet to be passed by the full House and Senate before it can become law.”
In the meantime, the duly elected president of the United States may redesign Air Force One as he sees fit, without having to obtain parental approval from the same congressional Democrats who have no problem flushing money down the toilet via the most fiscally irresponsible schemes in American history.
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