Joe Biden got to enjoy one of the perks of the presidency for the first time Friday, flying aboard Air Force One after plotting a run for the White
Joe Biden got to enjoy one of the perks of the presidency for the first time Friday, flying aboard Air Force One after plotting a run for the White House for decades and admiring the plane from afar.
‘It was a great honor,’ Biden told reporters who flew with him for the short hop from Joint Base Andrews to his home of Wilmington, Del.
After landing in his hometown, Biden wandered over to reporters who joined him on Super Bowl weekend, notwithstanding CDC guidelines on avoiding travel when possible.
President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Delaware
‘It’s a great plane …. it’s the same plane that we had as Vice President, only it’s much nicer,’ he said. He flew on the smaller Air Force One, which shares the same paint job as the large 747 that ferries presidents around the world and on longer-haul flights.
He noted it has a ‘nice conference room’ and ‘plenty of room for you all back in the back.’
Biden said he took advantage of the time to catch up on the news – and flashed a broadsheet newspaper that was in his hand – another visual departure from the TV-focused diet of his predecessor.
Asked what he had planned for the weekend, he told DailyMaill.com the trip was to ‘see my grandchildren and hang out with Jill.’ He didn’t answer an earlier shouted question about whether he was setting the right example by taking the trip.
Biden said he caught up on the newspaper during the short flight
After saluting a Marine when boarding the aircraft, Biden made a point of saluting again from the top of a stairway
Stay tuned: There were no signed Biden M&Ms after just a few weeks in office, and Trump-signed candies were not provided on the flight
Biden told a story about watching the 747 model of the presidential aircraft practice takeoffs and landings at the same landing strip in Newcastle, Del.
‘You realize, they’ve used this air strip to practice landings for the 747 takeoffs for the president’s plane for a long time,’ he said.
His home is about five miles north of the airport, he said.
‘So I’ve been watching,’ he said. ‘Now I’m getting off that plane.’ He called the feeling ‘kind of strange.’
There were a few changes to the Air Force One experience. The famed cardboard boxes of M&Ms, signed by President Donald Trump, were no longer available.
Instead, the flight crew passed around a basket of ordinary candy. There was no immediate information on whether the Biden teamed planned to keep the tradition alive.
In-board TVs – fixed to Fox News throughout the Trump administration – were instead showing a mix of news channels. Before Biden got on board among them was MSNBC, featuring the Rev. Al Sharpton, and CNN.
Cans of flavored water distributed to passengers came with a paper straw.
Biden indicated to reporters that he had received his special Air Force One jacket, but the garment stays on board. It wasn’t known whether he put it on in flight.
The White House announced Biden would take his first trip as president over Super Bowl weekend – as the White House fended off questions about why the president wasn’t heeding administration health guidance against travel.
‘He is from Delaware and has a home there and is going to spend the weekend with his wife and family there,’ said White House press secretary Jen Psaki when asked about the trip.
Biden left town after just over two weeks in office. The trip comes as he continues to urge Americans to wear masks and take other precautions to get the pandemic under control – and the Centers for Disease Control explicitly warns against travel.
Wearing a face mask to reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden boards his campaign plane for a flight to Florida at New Castle County Airport October 13, 2020 in New Castle, Delaware. Biden takes his first Air Force One trip as president Friday
Pressed on the travel, Psaki said: ‘The key is ensuring that people don’t take steps to make others vulnerable in our effort to get the pandemic under control. As you know, any president of the United States, Democrat or Republican, obviously takes Air Force One, a private plane, when they travel.’
‘Delaware is his home and he so he looks forward to spending the weekend there and some time there with his family,’ she again noted.
Whenever the president travels, he has a large footprint that involves secret service, advance staff, local law enforcement and first responders, media, and others.
As a presidential candidate, Biden refrained from extensive campaign travel, limiting visits to swing states and holding car rallies – a marked difference from President Trump, who criss-crossed the country and held large rally events for months even as the virus raged.
Biden plans to watch the Super Bowl with his family in Delaware, the White House said
President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on October 17, 2020 before a three-day campaign trip to Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona
The CDC is warning Americans to avoid travel
‘He is from Delaware and has a home there and is going to spend the weekend with his wife and family there,’ said White House press secretary Jen Psaki
Air Force One, with President Donald Trump on board, lifts off from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Trump is heading to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota for campaign rallies
According to the CDC website: ‘Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Official White House guidance did not provide a detailed itinerary for Biden’s trip.
Psaki said Biden would be watching the game with his family. He is also giving an interview with CBS news where he plans to pitch his covid relief package and social distancing guidance.