President Trump takes first flight on Air Force One

It's been a week of firsts for President Donald Trump, and today was no different.

The mogul-turned-politician took his first trip on Marine One and Air Force One as the 45th President of the United States.

Trump took the presidential helicopter to Joint Base Andrews, to ride Air Force One less than 150 miles up the beltway to the GOP's annual policy retreat in Philadelphia.

As he ascended the stairs up into the aircraft for the first time, Trump was clearly focused on the business ahead - not even stopping to turn around and wave as is usual for a departing president.

President Donald Trump is saluted as he walks up the stairs. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump is saluted as he walks up the stairs. Photo / AP

Trump touched down in Philadelphia around 20 minutes later, and when he deboarded he made sure to acknowledge those gathered on a tarmac with a smile and a wave.

He was then whisked away in the presidential limousine to the retreat.

Trump wore a dark blue suit with a red-and-white striped tie from his own clothing line, held together by scotch tape as usual.

On the trip back to DC three hours later, Trump invited reporters into his office cabin to take pictures and for a few brief questions.

He commented that Air Force One was a 'great plane' and 'very beautiful,' even when compared to his own personal jet.

President Donald Trump sits at his desk. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump sits at his desk. Photo / AP

He also showed off a new bomber jacket that had just been gifted to him for the ride.

Trump has previously flown on a U.S. presidential jet once previously, when he flew from New York City to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration last week.

But the aircraft he is riding today is a different - and larger - plane. Also, a plane or helicopter can only receive the call sign of Air Force One or Marine One if the Commander in Chief is on board.

Trump is set to make his comments to the GOP at the retreat around noon.

Before the flight, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and the president's adviser, Kellyanne Conway, addressed the pool of reporters on board.

Photo / AP
Photo / AP

Conway told the reporters she has flown on Air Force One once before, "as a guest" during the George W. Bush administration.

She said "it feels different this time" - and that her comment should not be interpreted as "an anti-Bush statement".

Photo / AP
Photo / AP
Photo / AP
Photo / AP

Despite a rocky start to his administration, many lawmakers are optimistic about delivering change in a new era of GOP control over Washington. They would like to see a Trump committed to their agenda and results, not a president who veers off course into conspiracy theories about voter fraud or who keeps litigating the size of his inaugural crowds.

Before Trump's appearance, House Speaker Paul Ryan sketched out an ambitious agenda to lawmakers that includes sending Trump a health care repeal bill by March and a rewrite of tax laws by summer's end.

Also in the first 200 days Congress intends to confront paying for Trump's newly announced border wall, which Ryan confirmed could cost $8billion to $14billion, and will work on a public works bill that Trump requested be added to a crowded agenda.

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he arrives on Air Force One. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he arrives on Air Force One. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump salutes before getting into his vehicle after arriving on Air Force One at the Philadelphia International Airport. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump salutes before getting into his vehicle after arriving on Air Force One at the Philadelphia International Airport. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump walks on the tarmac as he waves to the crowd upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump walks on the tarmac as he waves to the crowd upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base. Photo / AP

"I'm just so excited we finally have a chance to do this because we have the House and the Senate and a president who is with us," Ryan told MSNBC on Wednesday about plans to overhaul the tax system, eliminating what critics say are loopholes and lowering corporate rates to 20 percent or even the 15 percent sought by Trump.

"If you can clean up the cesspool of the tax code and give us a pro-growth tax code, that is how you grow the economy, that is how you take power and money out of Washington and give it back to the people," he said.

Lawmakers were generally enthusiastic to see Trump take quick action on immigration, oil pipelines and other issues via executive order, even though they criticized Barack Obama for overusing such administrative tools when he was president. This time, Republican lawmakers justify it by saying Trump, in many cases, is undoing what Obama did.

Yet there were signs that Congress might not easily go along with fronting the money for Trump's border plan, which he continues to insist Mexico will ultimately pay for, though without explaining how.

As for Trump's fixation on supposed illegal voting by 3 million to 5 million people, which is untrue, and the attendance at his inauguration: 'Those are distractions, and it's dwelled upon. I particularly don't care about it,' Cassidy said.

Most Republicans are taking Cassidy's approach of playing down the distractions. But others said there was real concern that Trump could be the GOP's own worst enemy at the very moment they've seized full control of Washington and believe they have a mandate to usher in sweeping change, starting with repealing and replacing Obama's health care law.

Lawmakers also were to hear from Vice President Mike Pence and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Lawmakers said it was a chance to showcase the relationship with Britain in the visit from May, who vaulted to power as a result of the surprise vote to leave the European Union; many saw that as a precursor to Trump's own victory.

Her speech was coming on the same day when Trump was expected to sign executive orders starting work on bilateral trade deals to take the place of the sweeping multilateral Asia-Pacific pact negotiated under the Obama administration, which Trump announced the U.S. is discarding.

- Daily Mail

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