I don’t have a direct cite for this, but it is my understanding that the President took a ten minute helicopter tour of the collapsed I-35 bridge in Minneapolis IN THE OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL HELICOPTER. I heard that on the NPR news and the photo in the New York Times seems to confirm that the black and white Marine One chopper was there.
It’s understandable that the President traveled from DC to Minneapolis in the official airplane but it makes no sense that someone would haul the presidential helicopter halfway across the country so that the President can take a ten minute fly over. The Minneapolis police have helicopters. The Minnesota National Guard has helicopters. The Mayo Clinic has a helicopter service. Half the TV stations in the Twin Cities have a helicopter. There is an army base at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, less that an hour’s flight away.
If the President is going to be flying around for a couple hours I suppose he might need all the bells and whistles on Marine One, but for a ten minute fly around do we really need to drag the Official Presidential Helicopter all the way out to the Upper Mississippi Valley for what amounts to a photo op?