President Joe Biden was driven in what the Daily Mail described as a “massive” 85-car motorcade through the city of Rome to meet with Pope Francis before flying to Glasgow for a climate summit there.
The caravan reportedly included Biden’s armored presidential limo, nicknamed “The Beast,” a second armored limo in case the first had a problem, special communications vehicles, an ambulance, police escorts, and vehicles containing armed agents. There were also vans for the photographers and press who shadow the president on all his travels.
According to the Daily Mail, Biden brought his wife Jill, White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor, and senior adviser Mike Donilon, and several senior officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to his meeting with the Pope — about a dozen people in all.
Biden routinely travels with a contingent like this, but needed more vehicles in Italy because COVID-19 restrictions there limited vehicles to four people each.
Still, it wasn’t the best message to send just before visiting the Pope, who has urged people to take care of the environment, and attending a climate summit focused on taking steps to save energy.
It wasn’t clear whether any of the vehicles in Biden’s caravan were hybrid or electric ones, which supposedly have less of a carbon footprint (depending on how the electricity they use is generated).
After riding through Rome, the contingent then flew on Air Force One to Glasgow.
In Glasgow, the Daily Mail reports, Biden plans to tout $550 in new environmental initiatives and spending in his Build Back Better plan, which is currently struggling mightily to get through Congress.
Biden and the Pope
The meeting between the Pope and Biden was their fourth, and it had great meaning for the country’s second Catholic president.
Biden keeps a photo of himself and the Pope behind his desk along with photos of family members.
While some in the Catholic Church have argued that Biden and others who support abortion rights should not be able to receive communion, the Pope has said that is a decision that local clergy should make.
After the meeting, Biden said that the Pope had said he was a “good Catholic” and should keep receiving communion, ABC News reported.