Trump’s Private Jets Are an Unprecedented Problem
In the lead-up to his inauguration, Donald Trump has one problem no other president has faced: What to do with his private jets.
The Trump fleet—which includes two private jets and three helicopters—leaves the president-elect in a bit of a Catch-22.
The only remotely similar case was when Nelson Rockefeller tried using his own plane instead of Air Force Two in 1974. Eventually, the Secret Service convinced Rockefeller that it was actually more expensive to fly his plane instead of the government plane he was provided.
Similarly, security officials have advised Trump to give up his own plane and fly Air Force One to be more cost effective.
However, if Trump sold the planes or chartered flights, it would appear he is profiting from the presidency. Should he choose to put the planes in storage, it will require a hearty investment, as the planes require expensive maintenance.
Although the most logical move would be to give the airplanes to his family, Trump reportedly won’t let his children use the planes for their own trips. They must either fly commercial or spend their own money to fly private. Although it’s unclear why Trump (once again: reportedly) won’t let his children fly the plane, it could have something to do with Secret Service.
If Trump requested Secret Service protection for his children while they were flying onboard Trump Force One, he would be eligible for reimbursement from the federal government. (During the election campaign, the government paid Trump “about $1.6 million to cover the cost of flying its agents with the candidate on a plane owned and operated by one of his companies,” according to Politico.)
Famously, Trump tweeted without evidence that Boeing was overcharging for the next Air Force One. If, as he promised during the campaign, Trump truly intends to cut government spending, having the government shell out for Secret Service aboard his own private plane would be counterproductive.
No matter what Trump decides to do with his private fleet, it will cost him something.