Another official pointed out the "hidden costs" associated with the speaker's last-minute changes and cancellations. "We have … folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc." Upset that a specific type of aircraft was not available to her boss, a Pelosi staffer carped to the DoD coordinators: "This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset speaker."
Three months ago, turmoil erupted over Queen Nancy's demand for the military to reposition her plane to fly out of Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., closer to where she had "business," instead of San Francisco Airport/SFO (1.5 hours away). A special air missions official wrote: "We have never done this in the past. The deal is … that the Speaker shuttle is from D.C. to SFO and back. We will not reposition. We do not reposition for convenience even for the SECDEF. It is not (too) far of a drive from Travis to SFO. Did the escort suggest to the speaker that this is OK? If so, I hope you guys correct them immediately. If you agree with me that I am correct, then you need to stay strong and present the facts to the speaker's office."
Another official stated bluntly: "We can't reposition the airplane such a short distance. It is not a judicial use of the asset. It is too expensive to operate the jet when there is truly no need to do so."
A beleaguered colleague responded: "(Y)ou know I understand and feel with you … but this is a battle we are bound to lose if we tell the speaker office. In the end, this is what will happen. … I wish that I could say this is a one-time request, but we know it will probably happen again in the future."
In the end, the military won that battle. But a few days later, Pelosi was back with a new demand: that her military plane taking her from D.C. to San Francisco make a stop in New Jersey to bring her and three Democrats to an "innovation forum" at Princeton University involving 21 participants and no audience. A Gulfstream jet was secured for the important "official business."
No word on whether Pelosi required vanilla-scented candles, Evian water and fresh white lilies aboard the flight. But rest assured: Air Diva traveled in style, courtesy of your tax dollars and the forbearance of the U.S. military.