Air Force One needs new refrigerators, and they’ll come with a $23.7 million price tag. For comparison, the Wall Street Journal reported this month that the Air Force is looking to save money with fighter jets like the Scorpion Textron, which costs about $20 million.
Defense One reports that refrigerator upgrades to the two Boeing 747s that serve as Air Force One will set taxpayers back considerably. Surprisingly, Trump is not to blame. (Bunless Filets-O-Fish and red Starburst don’t require refrigeration.) Instead, White House Military Office and Air Force requirements are responsible for the absurd cost of upgrading the two “chiller units.” The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Air Force will swap out two of the five chiller units, which haven’t been replaced since the 747s were delivered in 1990. An Air Force spokesperson tells the Post that despite regular servicing, those coolers have been failing regularly, especially in hot/humid environments. Like Mar-A-Lago?
Government regulations stipulate that Air Force One must be prepared to feed passengers and crew for weeks at a time without resupplying, according to Defense One. Presumably that’s to prevent a Mike Pence-Melania Trump brawl over the last lobster tail, should the plane ever been marooned somewhere. (My money is on Melania. I bet she bites.) The space required for such storage is 70 cubic feet—more than three times the interior capacity of a new, high-end Frigidaire. An Air Force spokesperson also said that the fridges aren’t standard-issue; they’re custom to Air Force One, which increases the bill substantially. Contractors working on the installation must pass high-level security clearance checks, which further ups the cost.
Boeing was awarded the nearly $24 million contract in December, which will come out of the taxpayer-funded Air Force budget. That the president with the least gourmet diet would require such expensive kitchen upgrades is really quite ironic. At least he’ll rest easy knowing the 12 Diet Cokes he’s rationed each day will be kept at industry-leading, ice-cold temperatures.