Why does Donald Trump have a 9 car entourage? Examining Donald Trump’s extensive motorcade

One of the most visible signs of Donald Trump’s presidency was his motorcade, known as “The Beast,” which includes a fleet of multiple vehicles for his transportation and protection.

This has led many to ask – why does Donald Trump have such a large entourage of vehicles accompanying him at all times?

In this post, we’ll examine the reasons Trump traveled with an extensive motorcade and what each component aimed to provide:

  • An overview of the typical composition of Trump’s motorcade
  • The protective and logistical purposes served by the motorcade
  • How Trump’s motorcade compared historically to other presidents
  • Perspectives on whether the motorcade’s scope was justified and appropriate

Understanding the motorcade provides insights into the demands of securing a modern president and criticisms of Trump’s particular travel requirements.

Breakdown of Trump’s Typical Motorcade

When traveling locally or on trips, Donald Trump’s motorcade usually consisted of:

  • Lead Car – Opens route for motorcade to pass quickly and safely
  • Route Car – Scouts and secures the intended route ahead of time
  • Pilot Car – Guides other vehicles and manages traffic flow
  • Control Vehicle – Carries senior security and transportation officials communicating with vehicles
  • Intelligence Car – Contains technology and officers monitoring threats
  • Hazmat Unit – Emergency response vehicle with hazmat crew prepared for danger
  • Medical Unit – Contains doctor, nurse, medical equipment to care for president
  • Press Vans – Carries reporters and crews covering trip
  • Staff Cars – Transports White House staff and senior advisors
  • The Beast – Heavily armored presidential limousine built to withstand attacks
  • Secret Service Vehicle – Carries agents protecting the president
  • Counter Assault Team – Heavily armed vehicles to combat attacks from afar
  • Hotel Team – Coordinates motorcade arrival and handles baggage at destinations

This extensive cavalcade aims to provide maximum protection, flexibility of movement, and necessary amenities as a mobile White House.

Purpose and Reasons for Components

The size and composition of Trump’s motorcade results from the complex interlocking goals it is designed to achieve:


  • Weapon-resistant limo shields president from close-range attacks
  • Identify and divert threats with extensive monitoring
  • Armed vehicles and agents prepared for surprise ambushes
  • Emergency medical care available without needing outside help

Communication and Control

  • Secure real-time communication between all vehicles and parties
  • Traffic control enables swift passage, bypassing obstacles
  • Coordination of ground and air support for contingency plans

Logistical Support

  • Staff on hand to meet operational and administrative needs
  • Press kept in proximity for commenting on events
  • Equipment to handle luggage and supplies at destinations

Projecting Power and Stability

  • Impressive cavalcade promotes an image of strength and competence
  • Large mobilization helps ensure orderly transitions and adherence to schedule
  • Ceremonial aspects communicate president’s authority and sovereign status

Accommodating these diverse needs results in a massive assembly surrounding presidential travel.

How Trump’s Motorcade Compared Historically

Modern presidential motorcades have grown progressively larger, but Trump’s stood out in some respects:

  • Trump’s motorcade had 18-22 vehicles. Previous recent presidents averaged 14-17 vehicles in their motorcade.
  • More oversized SUVs were added to Trump’s motorcade to protect against projectiles.
  • Trump traveled more independently of the press pool, giving his motorcade greater flexibility and secrecy of movement.
  • Local road closures and traffic disruptions were more common with Trump due to his frequent trips to his various properties.

However, the underlying composition of Trump’s motorcade was comparable to his immediate predecessors in protecting the president.

Perspectives on Appropriateness and Scope

Opinions differ on whether the intensive resources required for Trump’s motorcade were justified:

Criticisms of Trump’s Motorcade

  • Excessive taxpayer expense for frequent trips to Trump properties
  • Overly militarized projection of force and self-importance
  • Unnecessary closures of public roads and airspace
  • Environmental waste from extensive idling vehicles

Justifications for Comprehensive Motorcade

  • Scope reflects persistent threat environment, not specific president
  • Long development of conventions for presidential travel make it resistant to change
  • Local economy benefits offset costs when presidential travel increases
  • Other branches of government also utilize extensive protection details

Reasonable observers disagree on what balance provides adequate security without excess.


The intense demands of presidential travel naturally require an assortment of specialized vehicles, security, and communications infrastructure. Yet the particular composition of Donald Trump’s motorcade also drew critiques and illustrated his tendencies toward self-importance, secrecy, and loyalty tests.

While individual components had rationally justifiable purposes, the overall impression shaped perceptions of Trump exceeding norms, fair practices, and fiscal responsibility. The next generation of presidential transportation will offer opportunities to harness new technologies and evolve outdated conventions.

Ultimately, the motorcade is symbolic of the office and current leadership as much as a practical necessity. Striking an appropriate balance remains key to public acceptance of resource expenditures required to keep the president safe and connected while on the move.

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