After taking a central role in negotiating the terms of the Air Force One replacement fleet of jets, sources indicate President Donald Trump is now involved in approving a potential new design.
According to Axios, the president would prefer a “more American” look that shuns a color scheme and design that has adorned Air Force One for more than half a century.
It was President John F. Kennedy’s administration that approved the iconic blue design still seen on the presidential aircraft. Prior to that badging, which was designed by industrial designer Raymond Loewy and approved by Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the presidential plane read “MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE.”
That design, along with its prominent orange color, resulted in a look historians say the Kennedys found gaudy.
Decades later, Trump now thinks the look is due for a more patriotic update, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
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Dismissing what he called the “Jackie Kennedy color” of the current jets, Axios reports that the president would prefer a red, white and blue color scheme.
One source cited discussions in which Trump complained that the current blue and white does not properly represent the United States.
Though that individual was confident the president could push through the proposed change, others point out possible problems with the plan.
Multiple Air Force officials, for example, told Axios that the current design is “known around the world” and would prefer to leave it as is.
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Presidential historian Michael Beschloss agreed, wondering why Trump or any president would favor a new design over one that “evokes more than a half-century of American history.”
He went on to cite multiple international events he said brought the classic Air Force One design to mind.
“Every time you see that blue trim and the words ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’ spelled out in that same typeface as an early version of the Declaration of Independence, it brings back JFK landing in Germany to speak at the Berlin Wall, Richard Nixon flying to China, Ronald Reagan stepping off the plane to see Gorbachev in Iceland and a thousand other scenes of presidents in our past,” Beschloss said.
If Trump hopes to ride aboard one of his newly designed Boeing 747s, he will probably need to win re-election in 2020. The new fleet is not expected to be fully customized for the unique demands of transporting a president until after the next inauguration.
As Fox News reported in February, Trump negotiated a lower price for the next Air Force One models during talks with Boeing executives that predated his election.
“President Trump has reached an informal deal with Boeing on a fixed price contract for the new Air Force One Program,” Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said at the time. “Thanks to the president’s negotiations, the contract will save the taxpayers more than $1.4 billion.”
Boeing also issued a statement indicating that Trump “negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people.”
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