Trump has been using Air Force One as a prop for his ‘Make America Great Again’ rallies as a raw illustration of power and strength in the final run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, the Washington Post reported.
“We will never give in. We will never give up. We will never back down. We will never surrender. And we will always fight on to victory — always because we are America and our hearts bleed red, white and blue,” Trump told the cheering Florida crowd, after walking out of his plane directly onto a platform constructed on the runway.
Air Force One is the official designation of the airplane used by the United States president, but the designation can be applied to different aircraft used by the commander-in-chief. For long trips, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet is used; however, for smaller airport runways the US Air Force uses a Boeing 757.
The crowd at the rally were reported to have wept with joy at the sight of their leader.
When Air Force One landed in Montana, “I had a tear in my eye,” said Isabelle Wieseler, 20, as cited by the Washington Post.
Trump supporter Jerrell Lynchard, an 18-year-old college freshman at Pensacola State College, told the newspaper that Trump’s arrival was “one of those things you see in photos, but never think you’ll see in real life. I got goosebumps. It was that ‘there-it-is’ moment.”
The current US president has used the executive aircraft as a staging element for many promotional events. Earlier this month, Trump used the Marine One helicopter at a rally in Mesa, Arizona, waving to the crowd after stepping off the dramatically lit aircraft.
The practice of Trump’s use of the presidential aircraft as a prop for his political rallies is not specifically outlawed under the Hatch Act, a law that makes it illegal for employees of the federal government to engage in political activity.
Trump’s predecessors, US Presidents Barack Obama, and George W. Bush, also used Air Force One at rallies. Bush also used Marine One, arriving in the presidential helicopter to a sports stadium during his 2004 re-election campaign.
A president of the United States is required to use Air Force One for all their travel, including vacations, due to national security concerns and the on-board communications networks connected to the Pentagon.
Trump's previous, personal plane was also a Boeing 757, which he acquired in 2011. The aircraft, dubbed Trump Force One, was famous for its cream-colored Italian leather interior and 24-karat gold-plated seat belts. According to a December 2016 article in Men's Journal, then-president-elect Trump shrugged off the official ride of the President of the United States as "a step down" from it "in every way."