Trump used Air Force One for political trips after criticizing Obama for it: report

President Trump has reportedly flown on Air Force One for at least 10 trips involving some political activity after slamming President Obama for using the plane to campaign, according to a USA Today analysis released on Wednesday.

Several former presidents, including Obama and George W. Bush, used the plane for trips that mixed both official business and campaigning, the newspaper noted.

Trump, however, lashed out at his predecessor for the practice in a 2016 tweet.

“Taxpayers are paying a fortune for the use of Air Force One on the campaign trail by President Obama and Crooked Hillary,” Trump tweeted. “A total disgrace!”

Trump has used the presidential plane this year to fly to rallies in Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania, the analysis showed.

Trump made roughly 100 trips in 2018 during his first midterm election year as president, which was roughly equivalent to Obama’s travel in 2010, according to the newspaper, which added that about half of Trump’s trips in 2018 included at least some political activity, compared to roughly a third for Obama in 2010.

Obama’s travel was reimbursed by an entity affiliated with the Democratic National Committee for more than $700,000, according to finance reports obtained by USA Today.

Trump’s travel is being reimbursed at a slower rate, it noted, adding that the Trump campaign has paid $211,000 so far for flights and travel expenses related to last year’s midterms.

Brendan Doherty, a political scientist at the U.S. Naval Academy and an expert on presidential travel and fundraising, told USA Today that it is up to the White House to determine if the trip is classified as being for a political purpose.

“We usually don’t get a full picture of what that cost is,” Doherty said.

No president has disclosed how officials make those determinations, USA Today noted. The White House does not release the cost of individual trips.

Trump’s campaign makes payments to the federal government, visible on quarterly campaign finance reports, but it does not identify which trips the payments are for.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, sent a letter to the White House last week requesting documentation about how the president’s aides decide which trips to reimburse.

“There is opacity in the way the White House designates an event as ‘political’ versus ‘official,'” Lofgren wrote in the letter obtained by USA Today. “The public has very little insight into whether and by what magnitude the American taxpayer is subsidizing the president’s campaign activities.” 

The president also conducted political business on board, the newspaper noted.

He was in his office on the plane when he taped a 30-second video slamming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for entering the 2020 Democratic presidential race.

“If you like high taxes and you like crime, you can vote for him,”  Trump said in the video. USA Today noted that Trump was on the plane to fly to New York for fundraisers.

Tags 2018 midterms Air Force One Bill de Blasio Donald Trump travel Zoe Lofgren

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video