‘Trump Force One’ Joins California Airshow, With Former President Expressing Hopes for State

The plane swung by the Pacific Airshow en route to his California political appearances.
‘Trump Force One’ Joins California Airshow, With Former President Expressing Hopes for State
Former President Donald Trump onboard his plane Trump Force One arrives at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on his way to the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Ga., on Aug. 24, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
Janice Hisle

The private jet of former President Donald Trump made an unexpected appearance during the seventh annual Pacific Airshow in California over the weekend.

President Trump’s red, white, and blue airplane with metallic gold “TRUMP” lettering gained exposure at the event that draws massive crowds amid the Republican frontrunner's third presidential run.

About 3 million people were expected to attend the three-day airshow, a news release said.

Headliners included the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the U.S. Navy Parachute Team.

An Iconic Aircraft

Kevin Elliott, the airshow’s executive director, called the former president’s Boeing 757 “the second-most photographed [plane] of all time, right behind Air Force One,” according to the Daily Mail.

Mr. Elliott, who met President Trump through a mutual friend, said he knew the former president was scheduled to visit California during the airshow, making it convenient for "Trump Force One" to participate.

As the former president's aircraft flew along the shoreline on Sept. 29, the first day of this year’s airshow, President Trump greeted spectators with an announcement.

“Hello to Huntington Beach! [It’s] Donald J. Trump. I’m way up here, lookin’ at you in that big crowd of beautiful people,” he said over the airshow’s loudspeakers. “If I had a parachute, I’d parachute right down there.”

President Trump posted a video of the flyover, including an excerpt of his remarks, on his Truth Social account on Oct. 1.

'Turning Around' California

“I just want to wish everybody a wonderful time down there,” President Trump said in a lengthier recording that the Daily Mail posted online. “We’re turning around our country. Hopefully, they’ll be turning around California. ... We’ll be down there and we will be seeing you.”

He said there are “incredible people” and “incredible patriots” in the Golden State.

In an Oct. 1 statement to The Epoch Times, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said he was “glad to see the crowd loved it.”

“They were thrilled to see Trump Force One,” he said.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, an account holder named Tina said, “It was fabulous!!”

She didn’t disclose where she lives, but she said she enjoyed watching President Trump fly over her home in Air Force One during his presidential years. “And now I have him flying by in Trump Force One,” while she was in California visiting her children, she wrote.

The billionaire businessman bought the airplane several years before his first presidential run in 2015, using it throughout that campaign, then having it renovated while he served as president.

The former president made the surprise flyover en route to several appearances in California, a state where he has rarely held rallies.

According to The Trump Tracker app, his last rally in California occurred on June 3, 2016 in Redding.

California Dreamin'

President Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has expressed hope that he could win the state.

Known as a Democrat stronghold, California is a coveted prize for presidential candidates because it carries the nation's largest number of electoral college votes. To win the presidency, 270 votes are needed. California, by itself, carries one-fifth of that total.

President Trump's California aspiration appears to be a longshot, based on past election outcomes.

In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump lost the state but won the presidency. President Trump also lost California in 2020, when Democrat Joe Biden won the state and was declared the winner of the nationwide election.

No Republican presidential candidate has carried California in the general election since 1988. But the state has been in the GOP spotlight this past week.

The former president skipped the second GOP presidential debate in Simi Valley on Sept. 27.

On Sept. 29, President Trump spoke to a sold-out crowd of 1,500 Republicans at the California GOP Convention luncheon in Anaheim. His appearance raised funds for the state party.

In campaign stops, President Trump visited with fans at an ice cream shop near Los Angeles and attended a couple additional private fundraisers, organizers told The Epoch Times.

Janice Hisle reports on former President Donald Trump's campaign for the 2024 general election ballot and related issues. Before joining The Epoch Times, she worked for more than two decades as a reporter for newspapers in Ohio and authored several books. She is a graduate of Kent State University's journalism program. You can reach Janice at: [email protected]