Donald Trump took his first flights on Marine One and Air Force One on Thursday, nearly one week after he was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
After taking the Marine One helicopter to Joint Base Andrews, Trump boarded Air Force One to travel to the GOP’s annual policy retreat in Philadelphia. Trump notably did not stop at the top of the stairs to turn and wave for news cameras in the White House press pool, as presidents often do before departing on Air Force One. But on the return flight later Thursday, the president invited the pool to his office in the front of the plane for a brief photo-op.
Asked how the government plane compared to his own personal jet, emblazoned by the TRUMP logo, the president replied: “That’s a good one too but this is a very special plane for a lot of reasons.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer separately told reporters that the president was “in awe” of the presidential plane. “I saw him up forward in the cabin. He continues to react the same way he has throughout his time in his presidency, in awe of the splendor of this plane and what the White House represents,” Spicer said en route to Philadelphia.
When Trump deplaned in Philadelphia, he greeted those gathered on a tarmac with a smile and a wave before traveling on to the Loews Hotel in a motorcade.
The streets were lined with onlookers as Trump arrived to the hotel, including some protesters who gave the thumbs down sign — or the “middle finger salute” — to the motorcade. Other protesters carried signs inscribed with phrases such as: “Marching forward not back” and “Easier to get a gun than education,” according to a pool report
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Mike Pence also took his first flights as vice president on Marine Two and Air Force Two on Thursday, documenting the moment on Twitter:
Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway also addressed the pool of reporters on board Air Force One, saying she has flown on the plane once before, “as a guest” during the George W. Bush administration.
“It feels different this time,” she said, adding that her comment should not be interpreted as “an anti-Bush statement.”