During his inauguration, President-elect Donald J. Trump will get the same treatment from the Washington, D.C., public transit system as Pope Francis did when he visited the U.S. capital—a feature above and beyond what outgoing President Barack Obama ever received at his two inaugurations.
The District of Columbia’s public transit system—a network of subway and rail lines, along with busses—is colloquially called “The Metro.” Riders use a “Metro Card” pre-loaded with cash to pay fares when getting onto and off of trains and busses. Occasionally the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)—which runs the system—makes up special metro cards for the holidays, important events — and, of course, the inauguration.
Back in 2009 and in 2013, when the outgoing President Obama was inaugurated after his initial election and his reelection, WMATA made special metro cards with his image on them. This year, according to local media outlet WTOP, the incoming President Trump won’t have his face on the special cards.
WTOP’s Jack Moore wrote on Wednesday:
Metro is now selling special-edition versions of its SmarTrip payment cards to commemorate the upcoming presidential inauguration. The cards, which sell for $10 and provide unlimited Metro access the day of the inauguration, feature an image of the White House against a red-white-and-blue flag backdrop. Notably absent? Any reference to the soon-to-be 45th president of the United States: Donald Trump. The 2013 and 2009 inauguration-edition SmartTrip cards both featured a smiling image of President Barack Obama. In an emailed statement to WTOP, Metro said it requested permission to use a photo of Trump but didn’t receive a reply from his campaign.
“Due to the long lead time to produce the cards, the new pass commemorates the national celebration of the 58th Presidential Inauguration,” WMATA told WTOP.
In the wake of that news, Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) spokesman Boris Epshteyn—a top Trump campaign official now running the president-elect’s inaugural communications—revealed that WMATA is actually going above and beyond what it did for Obama for Trump’s inauguration.
— Boris Epshteyn (@BorisEP) December 22, 2016
Epshteyn noted that Trump’s inaugural team is working with WMATA to make special-edition sleeves for the special Metro Cards with Trump’s image on them. The sleeves are similar to what WMATA made for the September 2015 visit to Washington, D.C., of Pope Francis.
“The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday it’s ‘working closely’ with Metro to design a sleeve for the inauguration-edition SmarTrip cards similar to sleeves that were produced for Pope Francis’ September 2015 visit to D.C., according to a tweet from the committee’s communications director, Boris Epshteyn,” WTOP’s Moore wrote in a follow-up piece on Thursday morning. “Metro spokesman Dan Stessel confirmed to WTOP the transit agency is working with Trump’s inaugural committee to design the protective sleeves, using the special pope covers as a template.”
When Pope Francis was in D.C., WMATA made special edition sleeves for the Metro Cards.
“Those card sleeves featured a close-up of a smiling Pope Francis against a blue backdrop with the words ‘Pope Francis’ and the dates of his visit,” Moore wrote in WTOP.
A WMATA official confirmed to Breitbart News on Thursday, too, that in 2009 and in 2013, there were no special edition sleeves for Obama’s two inaugurations.
“Correct, that was just a card,” the official said via phone when asked to confirm special sleeves were not made for Obama in 2009 or 2013.