Washington Post and Herald staff
President Trump shared drawings of an Air Force One with a new paint scheme — featuring colors remarkably similar to those on his private jet — during a television interview broadcast Thursday as Democratic lawmakers moved to impede such a change.
“Take a look at this,” Trump said to ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos as he displayed some options for the makeover. “Here’s your new Air Force One.”
The mock-ups swap out the current sky blue and white for a color scheme that includes red, white and navy, in nearly identical shades that appear on the jet that Trump used to fly around the country during his 2016 campaign.
A pair of heavily modified Boeing 747-200s, built in Everett and designated by the U.S. Air Force as VC-25s, have been in use since 1990. They carry the moniker Air Force One when the president is on board. Trump negotiated a deal with Boeing for two new planes — modified 747-8s — at a cost of $3.9 billion.
On the Boeing website, the new version of Air Force One is shown with the classic sky-blue livery. Perhaps with a wink, the company put a caveat on the drawing: “This is an artist rendering and therefore may not reflect the final appearance decisions.”
The Air Force has projected the new planes will come on line in 2024.
Trump shared his intention to change the color scheme in a 2018 interview with CBS, in which he said the revamped aircraft would be “top of the line, the top in the world, and it’s going to be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.”
“I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors.’ And we’re not,” Trump added.
The interview this week, conducted in the Oval Office, was broadcast a day after a House committee voted to require congressional approval for changes to the Air Force One paint scheme and interior design. It’s unclear whether the provision will remain in the bill by the time it gets to Trump’s desk.
Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee voiced concerns about the potential cost of any changes and said they were hesitant to abandon an iconic design that emerged during the tenure of President John F. Kennedy.