Donald Trump sticks to ‘The Beast’ for spectacular Gujarat roadshow

Updated on Feb 24, 2020 12:51 PM IST
Former US President Barack Obama had once said at a talkshow that the limo is “a Caddy basically on a tank frame”.
A Marine One helicopter carrying US President Donald Trump lands behind ‘The Beast’ in this file photo.(Reuters)
A Marine One helicopter carrying US President Donald Trump lands behind ‘The Beast’ in this file photo.(Reuters)
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad | ByHT Correspondent

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania, who are on a two-day visit to India, will be driven around in the presidential car known across the world as ‘The Beast’. The 2018 model of a unique Cadillac serves as a miniature version of the White House.

Full Coverage: Trump’s Visit to India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received Trump as he arrived at Ahmedabad airport on Monday. The Prime Minister is accompanying Trump on his two-day official visit. The motorcade is headed on a 22-km route in Ahmedabad to Motera Stadium where the US President will attend a “Namaste Trump” event.

The presidential state car, maintained by the United States Secret Service, is transported in the hold of Air Force One, the President’s plane. The Presidential Cadillac is actually a giant Chevrolet SUV platform underneath a body designed to look like a Cadillac. That gives it the ability to be armoured, tough and able to hammer its way out of a crisis situation, while at the same time being a rolling symbol of American class.

Experts say the presidential limousine has run-flat tires, bulletproof glass and a completely sealed interior to ward off a chemical attack, among many other high-tech security features. It also has extensive electronic communications equipment.

Former US President Barack Obama had once said at a talkshow that the limo is “a Caddy basically on a tank frame”. Obama had said he “could call a nuclear submarine right here” from a phone in the car.

Until the assassination of John F Kennedy, US Presidents would often stand and ride uncovered in their state cars for the sake of their fans. However, Kennedy’s assassination led to tight security regimen with introduction of bullet-proof, armoured and sealed cars.

For much of the 20th century, the presidential limousine was a Lincoln. But since the early 1980s, the limousine has always been a Cadillac.

The latest, custom-built Cadillac has been produced by General Motors Co, and was unveiled in September, 2018. The previous version of the limo first appeared in January 2009 just before Barack Obama took office.

Motorcades escorting the US presidential state car constitute around 50 vehicles maintained by White House Military Office and helicopters of Marine One.

US secret service agents, for the last several months, have been scrutinising every detail of President Trump’s travel logistics and secure exits in case of an attack in New Delhi, Agra and Ahmedabad.

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