President Barack Obama will give Hillary Clinton a lift on Air Force One Tuesday when they fly to North Carolina for their first joint campaign appearance. Clinton’s Republican opponent, meanwhile, wants to know who’s paying.
“Why is President Obama allowed to use Air Force One on the campaign trail with Crooked Hillary?” Donald Trump tweeted Monday. “She is flying with him tomorrow. Who pays?”
The cost of flying Air Force One for political travel is divided between the federal government (using taxpayer dollars) and the candidate’s political organization. Hillary’s campaign (or the Democratic National Committee) would have to pay a portion of the bill whether the candidate was aboard or not. The exact breakdown of how much the campaign will owe, however, isn’t precisely known.
Furthermore, whatever Clinton’s campaign does pay is far less than the actual costs of flying Air Force One, which is retrofitted with secure communication and navigation equipment, and costs north of $200,000 to operate per hour. So in a sense, Trump’s question holds necessary merit: who truly is paying? Because most of it isn’t Hillary…