The President of the United States will travel on Monday to Maui. We are filled with emotion simply because the arrival represents the enormity of the disaster here.
When the Biden’s arrive on Monday, following a more than 10-hour nonstop trip from Washington DC, it will mark only the second time in history that a Commander-in-Chief has officially been on the Valley Isle.
A rare visit to Maui by a U.S. president.
This will not be the first time a president has been here, but to our knowledge, it will be only the second visit of a sitting president in an official capacity. It is reported that the first-ever presidential visit was in 1934. See more about that visit below.
Roosevelt was incidentally also the first sitting president to fly on an airplane aboard the Dixie Clipper/Boeing 314 when he attended a conference in Casablanca, Morocco. The plane was equipped with an elevator so that Roosevelt could be accommodated in his wheelchair. It isn’t clear from the record, but the passengers may have needed to wear oxygen masks since planes at that time weren’t equipped with pressurized cabins for higher altitudes.
Other presidential visits to Maui, and Hawaii in general, have been mainly related to the military, the economy, or much-needed vacations, as with Hawaii visitors. President Biden’s trip is the first crisis-related visit to Maui.
Timeline of presidential visits to Hawaii.
Many presidents have visited Honolulu since Hawaii became the 50th state. In part because of Hawaii’s strategic location and home of the United States Pacific Command. These visits include the following:
1963, President John F. Kennedy visited Honolulu.
1966, President Lyndon Johnson visited Honolulu for meetings during the Vietnam War.
1975, President Gerald Ford visited and presented an address at the University of Hawaii. That was focused on Hawaii’s role in the relations between the US and Pacific countries.
1986, President Ronald Reagan gave remarks during a visit to Hickam Air Force Base/Honolulu International Airport.
1991, President George H.W. Bush came to Hawaii and visited Pearl Harbor to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Japanese attack, which marked the U.S. joining WWII.
1994, President Bill Clinton visited Hawaii on his way back to Washington from an extensive visit to Asia. He stayed at the Kaneohe Marine Base.
2003, President George W. Bush visited Honolulu when returning from an economic forum that took place in Asia.
2009-2017, President Barrack Obama. Born in Hawaii, Obama visited many times during and after his presidency. He owns a home on Oahu, which has been the subject of some local controversy. Obama also had official visits here in the islands that started when he was United States Senator from Illinois between 2005-2008.
2017, President Donald Trump spent one day in Honolulu at the beginning of an official trip to Asia.
The flying Oval Office comes to Maui.
The president will arrive on a specially configured 747-200B or a specially configured 757. They both feature very long-range flying, aerial refueling, and self-sufficiency at airports anywhere in the world.
It has 4,000 square feet of interior space.
According to Boeing, the Air Force One amenities include:
Quarters for the president and the first lady
An office area for senior staff members
Another office that converts into a medical facility when necessary
Work and rest areas for the presidential staff, media representatives and Air Force crews
Two galleys that can provide 100 meals at one sitting
Multi-frequency radios for air-to-air, air-to-ground and satellite communications
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