Report: White House Press Corps Loots Air Force One — Wine Glasses, Tumblers, Gold-Rimmed Plates

Biden Air Force One
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Journalists in the White House press corps covering President Joe Biden’s administration habitually steal insignia items from Air Force One, four people told West Wing Playbook.

The looting reportedly grew to such a degree under Biden’s tenure that the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, NBC correspondent Kelly O’Donnell, issued a “terse reminder” that stealing from Air Force One is not allowed, several individuals who saw the off-the-record email confirmed to Playbook.

None of the members of the press corps reportedly responded to O’Donnell’s email.

Items allegedly stolen include:

  • Wine glasses
  • Tumblers
  • Gold-rimmed plates
  • Embroidered pillowcase

“For years, scores of journalists — and others — have quietly stuffed everything from engraved whiskey tumblers to wine glasses to pretty much anything with the Air Force One insignia on it into their bag before stepping off the plane,” Playbook reported:

“On my first flight, the person next to me was like, ‘You should take that glass,’” one current White House reporter told West Wing Playbook. “They were like: ‘Everyone does it.’”

When we raised the subject with current and former White House correspondents, stories spilled forth. There’s one about the senator in the front of the plane who — as a chatty aide told reporters — was taking everything not bolted down. Several colleagues of one former White House correspondent for a major newspaper described them hosting a dinner party where all the food was served on gold-rimmed Air Force One plates, evidently taken bit by bit over the course of some time. Reporters recalled coming down the back stairs after returning to Joint Base Andrews in the evening with the sounds of clinking glassware or porcelain plates in their backpacks.

The reported looting has gotten so bad that O’Donnell is being pressured to crack down on the alleged theft, White House officials familiar with the matter told Playbook, noting the crackdown is not meant to “embarrass individual reporters but to send a message that the thefts needed to stop.”

In one reported instance, an email went out asking reporters to return any items “inadvertently” taken “by mistake.” One reporter, who reportedly received the email, allegedly stole an embroidered pillowcase. That person reportedly admitted to the alleged theft and scheduled a time to return the item in Lafayette Square just outside the White House.

When the reporter returned the item to the White House staffer, known as a press wrangler, the “pillowcase changed hands, and that was that.”

The reported looting of Air Force One reflects poorly on a press corps that already suffers from low trust. Confidence in establishment media to accurately report “news in a full, fair and accurate way” fell to the lowest level since 2016’s record low, a Gallup poll released in 2023 found.

Distrust in the media is well documented. Gallup also found that 50 percent of Americans said the national media intend to mislead, misinform, and persuade the public, as just 35 percent said most news organizations could be relied upon. In addition, six out of ten Americans said the establishment media are to blame for misinformation, another Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights poll revealed.

Wendell Husebo is a political reporter with Breitbart News and a former GOP War Room Analyst. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality. Follow Wendell on “X” @WendellHusebø or on Truth Social @WendellHusebo.


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