Donald Trump shows off his campaign secret weapon and takes DailyMail.com inside Trump Force One
Ask Donald Trump what his favorite feature is on his refurbished private jet and his answer is the lightning fast satellite internet connection. Next is the sound system.
‘What’s your favorite music? Elton John, James Brown?’ he says, directing an aide to find a video from the new entertainment system.
‘There’s a version of James Brown and Pavarotti singing together. It’s incredible.’
He points out the speakers that run down either side of the cabin in his modified 757.
‘It’s a brand new sound system,’ he says. ‘The latest, it will get better with time. See all the speakers. All those speakers are amazing, truly surround sound.’
The music will wait. Trump is on a roll, describing to DailyMail.com the finishes on ‘Trump Force One’, the private jet he has used to travel the country since 2010.
While he is keen to bash his rival Ron DeSantis or rail against the Manhattan district attorney investigating his business records, his face fairly lights up when he has a chance to discuss the new features on his plane.
On Saturday night, former President Donald Trump talked DailyMail.com through the modifications made to his 757 jet when it was refurbished last year
The interior of Trump Force One is finished in cream-colored leather, with gold fittings, including air vents and seatbelt buckles. A giant screen fills one wall in the main cabin
On Saturday he flew to Waco, Texas, for his first rally of the 2024 campaign. And DailyMail.com was given special access to see the bedroom and state room where the former president relaxes.
But for much of the return journey to West Palm Beach, the former president held court at a table in the main cabin. Behind him aides tucked into McDonald’s burgers while a new animation featuring Trump’s family coat of arms played on a screen that took up an entire wall.
His 757-200 has been back in service since late last year, when it completed an overhaul.
The result, he says. is a plane that puts Air Force One, his ride when he was in office, to shame.
Trump is unusually coy about the cost, saying it would be wrong to boast about the money he spent when so many people were struggling financially.
‘A lot of money,’ is all he will say. ‘These finishes are expensive.’
The fittings, including air vents and seatbelt buckles, gleam. They are made from 24-carat gold.
Cream leather covers the seats and rolls across the ceiling, complemented, he says, by velvet that runs up the walls. The floor is the same color, so it is a good job that the plane is dry — a spilled glass of red wine would ruin the look forever.
DailyMail.com traveled with the former president on ‘Trump Force One’ from West Palm Beach to Waco, Texas, on Saturday and back again as he held his first campaign rally of the cycle
The plane is equipped with sleeping quarters for longer trips. Trump said he was responsible for selecting all the finishes used throughout the plane, which he has owned since 2010
The state room: A private space where the president can entertain VIPs away from the main cabin where his aides work on speeches or his social media output
Key Trump campaign figures await the former president’s arrival. From left to right: Campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, with longtime adviser Jason Miller
A rear cabin holds 12 seats, similar to the press cabin on Air Force One. On Saturday evening, it was used by Secret Service agents, five journalists and a couple of Trump aides
‘This table folds,’ he says, demonstrating the flaps that lift up making it easier for passengers to slip in and out seats.
At his elbow is not just his regular Diet Coke, but a tiny panel from which he can control the entertainment system.
The outside has a slightly new look. too While the black, red and white paintjob is the unchanged, with “Trump” written in gold lettering the tail has a new design. Gone is the giant T — replaced with a fluttering ‘Stars and Stripes.’
It is all part of Trump’s campaign show.
The arrival of the 757 on Saturday evening at Waco airport brought a waiting crowd to fever pitch, one of the advantages of having your own private jet: Part taxi, part rally backdrop, part aspirational symbol.
‘Well, it’s certainly convenient,’ said Trump. ‘And I think it makes an impression because it’s just a great aeroplane.
‘The 757 was always considered the best looking of all of the commercial planes. You know, it sits up high. It’s like a preying mantis. And I think it’s helpful in a lot of ways.
‘We can travel with a lot of people.
‘But I think more importantly it makes a fantastic impression on people because we’re gonna make our country great and you’d like to show equipment that’s great. It’s all part of everything.’
Passengers use seatbelts finished with 24-carat gold buckles. The air vents are also golden, as well as the sinks in the well-appointed bathrooms
Trump’s family crest features throughout the plane, here seen on a headrest
Trump has also just had an animated graphic made for the big screen in the main cabin, welcoming passengers on board with his family coat of arms
The standard 757-200 has about 228 seats. Trump’s version features 43 seats — plus a bedroom, guest suite, state room, conference area and custom galley.
He bought it in 2010 from Microsoft founder Paul Allen. It was a key part of his 2016 campaign- when it added to the sense of spectacle he brought to national politics, but it was mothballed during his time in the White House.
Two years ago it was spotted as New York’s Stewart Airport, mechanically grounded with one of its engines shrouded in shrink wrap and in need of repair or replacement.
But it returned into service last year, after a thorough makeover and a paintjob in Mississippi.
It was first seen at a November rally just before the midterms, and now he says it lacks nothing that Air Force One — a fleet of modified 747s that have been in service for decades and are that is due to be replaced — has.
‘You look at the cockpit. There’s nothing in the cockpit that this one doesn’t have. I said just put the best,’ he says.
‘They brought the engines to to zero time – like a brand new engine. Rolls Royce does it.’
Donald Trump pictured on board Air Force One in 2017
He is pictured arriving at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo with wife Melania in May 2019
Trump’s old main office on board Air Force One – where he previously said he stays up for hours speaking with aides
Trump speaking on his old Air Force One on September 7, 2018
On Saturday, the jet provided the backdrop to Trump’s rally speech. ‘It makes a fantastic impression on people,’ he told DailyMail.com afterwards
The 757 takes off from Waco on its way back to West Palm Beach. Trump says the Boeing model is the best looking of all commercial planes, like a ‘preying mantis’
Trump with traveling journalists on his private jet on Saturday evening as he returned from delivering a 90-minute campaign speech in Waco, Texas
Just like on Air Force One, he is able to travel with journalists who can document his campagn. They are assigned to seats at the rear of the plane, brought forward when he is ready to chat.
And his arrival on Saturday morning at West Palm Beach International Airport, choreographed by his Secret Service detail, also bore the hallmarks of a White House travel movement — up to a point.
His motorcade pulled up to the rear steps of the plane, an agent standing guard at the SUV’s door until Trump emerged, in navy suit and open necked shirt.
He acknowledged the five members of the press traveling with him with a half raised hand and mouthed, ‘Thank you,’ as he climbed the steps.
Inside he made straight for the main cabin, where the flat screen TV was tuned to the rally in Waco.
Ted Nugent was wringing an extravagant ‘Star Spangled Banner’ from his guitar as Trump greeted his aides already aboard — his dual campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, longtime adviser Jason Miller, and political director Brian Jack among others.
But not everything is quite as it used to be.
The plane stood on the taxiway for 15 minutes, engines idling, before the pilot came over the loudspeaker.
‘We are next to the runway,’ he said, a reminder that Air Force One never had to wait its turn for take off.
Ten hours later, he has delivered a 90-minute speech to supporters in Waco, and the plane is descending back into West Palm Beach.
Finally he gets the music he asked for.
The plane lands to the sound of the tenor voice of Pavarotti booming through the cabin.
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