November 4, 2018

"Trump’s use of Air Force One is raising questions about the ethics and protocol of using a military asset for political purposes."

"But ethics experts said there is no law preventing Trump from campaigning within view of the plane. And they note that the president, as well as the vice president, is exempt from the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity. 'It’s a question of appearance,' said Richard W. Painter, ethics czar in the Bush White House and an outspoken critic of Trump’s ethics practices. 'It’s highly inappropriate, but there’s nobody who can go sanction him for standing in front of the plane to give a political speech. It’s not illegal.'... The president does not have the option of flying commercial or using his personal plane for political events. He is required to fly Air Force One for all of his travel, including vacations, because of the security and communications systems aboard. During the 2016 campaign, Trump used his personal Boeing 757 — branded Trump Force One — at his rallies, pulling the plane up to near the stage to great fanfare... But in February 2017, when Trump held his first airport hangar rally as president, the White House said it would not use Air Force One 'in the background as a prop.' That policy was clearly dropped as the president’s campaigning picked up pace, however...."

From "A ‘there-it-is’ moment: Trump wows fans by using Air Force One as a campaign prop" (WaPo).

73 comments:

Megthered said...

No one remembers Obama and his entire family using AF1 for vacations and political rallies. Donald Trump is president whether they like it or not and needs the facilities that AF1 provides. He could easily say F-it and use his own plane, but security would never allow that. AF1 is for the president.

Matt said...

File this one under "Shit no one cared about until Trump became president".

Scott said...

"The president does not have the option of flying commercial or using his personal plane for political events. He is required to fly Air Force One for all of his travel, including vacations, because of the security and communications systems aboard."

Right. That makes you unhappy? Tough shit.

Sprezzatura said...

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/11/melania-trump-cairo-hotel-bill

Maillard Reactionary said...

And the problem is... ?

Diogenes of Sinope said...

This is the most significant ethical issue?

Fabi said...

"But ethics experts said there is no law preventing Trump from campaigning within view of the plane."

Yet they still wrote the article.

Fernandinande said...

"Trump’s use of Air Force One is raising questions about the ethics and protocol of using a military asset for political purposes."

Fortunately those questions have already been answered; it's just unfortunate that WaPo doesn't like the answers.

Original Mike said...

It’s “highly inappropriate” for the President to give a speech in front of Air Force One? Absurd.

J. Farmer said...

@Peggy Coffey:

I don't think you understood the point of the article. It was not about Trump's use of Air Force One as a mode of travel.

That said, it is a silly article that will change no one's mind about anything. There is an interesting ethical debate to be had about the subject, I think, I suspect most people would rather watch paint dry than concern themselves with the ethical nuances.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Trump’s use of Air Force One is raising questions...

No, Trump's use is not raising questions. Ankle-biters are raising questions.

Seeing Red said...

Since when is AF 1 considered only a “military asset?”

Seeing Red said...

It’s not like he kept everyone who was trying to take off waiting an an airport while someone got a $300 haircut.

J. Farmer said...

A component of the presidency, particularly as the head of state, should be above politics and act as a unifying national symbol for the country. This is often what is described when people talk about having "respect for the office." That is, the office of the president is a distinct entity from any individual person. Things like the White House and Air Force One are not seen as the personal possessions of the president but as being owned by the nation as a whole. So, using those as campaign props does raise a certain question about propriety.

Again, I think it's mostly a dorm room debate not likely to inspire much righteousness on one side or the other. It also gives me a change to make a perennial complaint about the Constitution. Fusing the head of government and the head of state into a single executive is not a good idea.

Sprezzatura said...

"Yet they still wrote the article."

It's not illegal for him to take a dump on the HMS Res desk, but that'd still be worthy of an article. BTW, did you see the pic? The whole thing is focused on this taxpayer asset. Looks gross. IMHO.

Anywho, we can all agree that sometimes it is ok to criticize a POTUS even if they didn't break a law, e.g., if they wear a brown suit.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Trump’s use of Air Force One is raising questions about the ethics and protocol of using a military asset for political purposes.

Presidents give speeches on battleships, military bases, and in front of West Point Cadets among other military assets. And until now, I haven't heard anyone raise any concerns about it.

Seeing Red said...

As opposed to the ethical debate if standing behind a lectern with either a presidential seal when one wasn’t inaugurated yet or a president-elect seal?

Wait..... didn’t AF 1 buzz NYC for photos?

gilbar said...

" 'It’s highly inappropriate, but there’s nobody who can go sanction him for standing in front of the plane to give a political speech. It’s not illegal.'"

It's HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE, but Every President (before Trump) did it (for as long as there has been an Airforce One). That is to say; it's HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE for Trump to do it

Bill Clinton
George W
O'Bama

gilbar said...

ps, it only took me 5 minutes to find those, and FOUR of them were finding George W's

Seeing Red said...

That horse left the building when Clinton was running against #41 and they called him Mr. Bush.” Nice try tho.


Sprezzatura said...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/resizer/2uDZnwp5HFdNaHMHMt2QdPeOGJA=/1484x0/arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/CJ3CQ2HAJYI6RN2ZHWEKLTU6DE.jpg

iowan2 said...

It also gives me a change to make a perennial complaint about the Constitution. Fusing the head of government and the head of state into a single executive is not a good idea.

I think I see where you are coming from. I would counter with the history, that left the head of government with the individuals states. Except for those powers enumerated by the constitution a federal powers. I agree that would be nice.

Darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darrell said...

Pelosi gets a plane and a $100,000/mo. bar bill--just like when she was the Speaker.
Send her a bill.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Did Obama fly around in air force one for campaign stops?

If so - then shut the f up.

Hagar said...

Air Force One and the equipment it contains need to be where the President is.

Also, he is leading the nation in a fight against its domestic enemies.
As someone might say: "He won."

rcocean said...

Funny, how the WaPo and NYT suddenly become obsessed with Presidential ethics when a Republican is in office, and so unconcerned when a Democrat President is in office.

Suddenly, we go from "Hey, what's a little perjury? Everyone lies about sex" to "Trump needs to be impeached for ah, whatever"

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

btw- Trump has used big jets for promotional purposes when he was a celebrity.

So? It's his thing. Now, he's the prez and if the prez is one giant Hillary perk -then why not?

Hagar said...

And Air Pelosi had 3 planes: one flying, one on standby, and one in the shop.

Curious George said...

gilbar said...
" 'It’s highly inappropriate, but there’s nobody who can go sanction him for standing in front of the plane to give a political speech. It’s not illegal.'"

It's HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE, but Every President (before Trump) did it (for as long as there has been an Airforce One). That is to say; it's HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE for Trump to do it

Bill Clinton

That's not AF1 and looks like the Hildabeast going in. I'm guessing that when she was fucking up most of the word as S of S.

rcocean said...

I'm currently on a Watergate kick and it was same back then.

LBJ/JFK - could bug campaign opponents, use IRS To punish enemies, have corrupt Aides like Bobby baker, appoint their Brother to AG, and of course, have sex with Gangster Molls, and possible KGB agents. And the MSM attitude was "No harm, no foul". And boy that JFK is so witty and good looking I'm Ok with him fucking my sister-in-law (Ben Bradlee).

But of course, once they scented blood on Watergate break-in, it dominated the news for 2 years.

rcocean said...

Air Force one has a huge amount of fixed cost. Pilots, Plane, security, etc. it all gets depreciated or paid no matter how much the POTUS flies.

Flying really on costs fuel. POTUS have always used the plane for campaigning. In fact, Presidents used to only use the plane to campaign, they'd buy votes by putting Federal buildings and military bases in certain states and congressional districts.

gilbar said...

Curious George pointed out ...
That my Bill Clinton wasn't infront of Airforce One, but some airforce 727 (or something)
Here's one!
Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton was SO LONG AGO, that Al Gore had barely even created the Internet yet :)

Here's something, a Million Times More Better, or ; at least Twice as better
Heart shaker
While we're all talking and talking, gorgeous Korean Gals are winning hearts and minds

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Only King and Queen Democrats get to enjoy the perks of office.

BTW - dind't Trump refuse his presidential pay?

iowan2 said...

It's HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE, but Every President (before Trump) did it (for as long as there has been an Airforce One). That is to say; it's HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE for Trump to do it

How do you come to that conclusion? You say it's inappropriate. To make it HIGHLY inappropriate, lots of people would think so...and act at the voting both. This political observation,(not a problem) will succumb to a political solution. Thinking some mystic ruler should step in and do the job that rests solely in the hands of voters, is an all to often remedy those in DC foist on us, reinforcing their power. All to detriment of the voter's sovereignty. This Painter guy tries to wield power that only exists in his head.

gilbar said...

*I* didn't say it, it was in the quote

MayBee said...

Hahahahhahhahahha!

gilbar said...

the only conclusion *I've* come to is that TWICE are way better than BlackPink; whom i think are a little Too Naughty. Now, Red Velvet: Just Naughty Enough

Big Mike said...

Heck, Truman started it with his "Whistle Stop" tours in 1948, when the Air Force was less than one year old as an independent service. What upsets the media is that Trump has the energy to do all this campaigning across country.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

Civility bullshit.

Fabi said...

Tank Dukakis for the win.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The left would prefer Trump flew around in an Ilyushin Il-62.

iowan2 said...

*I* didn't say it, it was in the quote

Sorry about that, speed reading got me in trouble, again. My premise stands regardless, political problems ONLY get political solutions.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Obama used to come to Boulder to speak on the CU campus. I can remember one day seeing his fancy military helicopter slowly hugging the flatirons as he drifted into town in style. He was getting the scenic tour.

Nice work if you can get it.

JackWayne said...

As usual, Bush and his minions are the shitty gift that keeps on stinking up the place.

chuck said...

Ethics question answered, it is not a big deal.

Narayanan said...

When did propriety become ethics?
Are they synonym?

GRW3 said...

Thank God the President uses Air Force One for all air travel. It’s disruptive enough if the plane is at the same airport, I can’t imagine what it would be like if he flew commercial. One of the points regarding speaking in front of AF1 is taking the Peoples Plane to the people. Then there’s that great scene in The West Wing when one of Bartlett’s minions corners a reluctant senator with a vision of the President flying in on AF1 to campaign for his opponent.

Gabriel said...

From TFA: said Richard W. Painter, ethics czar in the Bush White House and an outspoken critic of Trump’s ethics practices.

Richard W. Painter is ran for Senate this year in Minnesota's Democrat-Farmer-Labor primary, for Al Franken' seat. As such, he is a Democrat and a political opponent of Trump, not some neutral ethics expert, and I think they could have found room to mention that somewhere.

Rosalyn C. said...
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Rosalyn C. said...

I had noticed that the plane Trump is using for these campaign trips is not the huge AF1 747 model with the two colors. Thinking this was perhaps the new AF1 with the new color scheme I started to do a search. No, this is not the new one, it's obviously a smaller model, and officially Air Force 2, a 757 model.

John Borell said...

How about the ethics of Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” photo-op?

becauseIdbefired said...

Farmer asserts:

A component of the presidency, particularly as the head of state, should be above politics and act as a unifying national symbol for the country.

Outside of the functions outlined by the constitution, the presidency should be exactly what the people want it to be.

We got that with Obama, who said he wanted to Transform America (not unify it, but change the elements he and his supporters did not like), for instance. While that's the epitome of arrogance, that's what people voted in.

Greg Hlatky said...


No, this is not the new one, it's obviously a smaller model, and officially Air Force 2, a 757 model.

I thought any airplane the president flies on has the designation Air Force 1.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...


Blogger John Borell said...

How about the ethics of Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” photo-op?

What would the ethics be? The mission was accomplished when he did that.

The carrier had gone to the Middle East, flown a bunch of sorties, done what it was supposed to do.

Then because its mission was accomplished Bush came on board for a photoop.

As far as the flight jacket, all presidents wear them but Bush 1 & 2 are the only presidents we've ever had that were actually qualified (Naval Aviator GHWB and military pilot GWB) to wear them.

Yeah, you didn't mention that but enough people have that I figured I would mention it.

John Henry

donald said...

Correct. AF-1 is whatever plane the president is flying.

narciso said...

yes, they had done their 40 day rotation, now the narrative like the plastic turkey, that tim blair skewered is something different,

FIDO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Derek Kite said...

It's unethical that Trump should campaign during an election, because damn he might win. That would be intolerable.

DEEBEE said...

Sure, a question of appearance to see the Hussein, an ex Prez, just not shutting up. Painter seems to be part of the eunuch wing of the GOP

Rosalyn C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosalyn C. said...

Yes, I also am aware that any plane the president is using is called Air Force 1 but in fact there is an Air Force 2 which is about half the size of AF 1, obviously less expensive to fly. So while technically Trump is using AF 1 and being attacked for using the plane for political purposes, as has been mentioned he has no choice about using the Air Force planes for his travels, but also he's being economical which no one has mentioned.

Openidname said...

How dare he behave as if he were the President?!?

WK said...

I think Obama used to fly Southwest for his campaign travel. In fact, I think I remember him pausing during a state of the union address to check in 24 hours in advance to get a boarding pass in the B section...... maybe I am mistaken.

Achilles said...

""Trump’s use of Air Force One is raising questions about the ethics and protocol of using a military asset for political purposes.""


The Wapo doesn't seem to realize for every one of these stories with the constant line of Democrat whingers and GOPe cuck wing democrats gnashing their teeth at Trump doing what they have been doing for ever just makes more Trump voters.

hombre said...

Fake ethics. Fake news. ‘Nuff said.

Leland said...

As many have noted, use of AF1 is what Presidents do, and Trump's use is no different. But I want to make two more observations:

1) Trump used his own plane in the same manner in 2016.

2) Airport rallies make sense from a logistics standpoint and save taxpayer dollars.

Etienne said...

Not only that, but there is a 10 mile circle around the plane, and the airspace is a non-free flight zone. Just like East Germany and Russia back in my day.

We used to love sticking our nose into East Germany, and watch all their SAM sites light up, and Mig's launch.

Sometimes you just have to show those non-free flight people what you think about their restricted zone.

[raspberry noise]

The Crack Emcee said...

He's the president. The president gets to ride in the airplane, the locomotive, the big car. If there's a whistle or a horn on it, he gets to pull the string. Don't like it?

Then you become president.

Seeing Red said...

We used to love sticking our nose into East Germany, and watch all their SAM sites light up, and Mig's launch.

Sometimes you just have to show those non-free flight people what you think about their restricted zone.



My dad didn’t love it when it went the other way. The stories....even in the 50s they had to account for all the bullets fired from everyone’s weapon.

Larry J said...

Matt said...

File this one under "Shit no one cared about until Trump became president".


More accurately, it's "Shit no one cares about when a Democrat is president."

Every president does this. You seldom hear the press complain about it when the president is a Democrat. That's different because shut up.

steve uhr said...

Got to love the new over-the-top Air Force 1 paint job. Big picture of Trump on the tail fin even though the plane won't be in service until after he leaves office.