When Presidents visit Cleveland

Four U.S. Airforce CV-22 Osprey accompanies the President of the United States carried in Marine One on an out-and-back-trip from Cleveland Ohio.
Four U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey accompanies the President of the United States carried in Marine One on an out-and-back-trip from Cleveland Ohio.

Sept. 27, 2020 — Next Tuesday’s Presidential Debate in Cleveland is planned to be held at the Cleveland Clinic down the hill about two-and-a-half miles from our home in suburban Cleveland Heights. Three days ago the streets around the debate location were blocked off with a lot of traffic rerouting.

It won’t be worth driving into Cleveland from here on Tuesday. Every time the President visits Cleveland, vehicular and air traffic gets screwed up. It is predicted that protestors of all sorts are going to show up too. Hopefully it goes as well as the RNC in 2016, which was peaceful.

The Cleveland Clinic is a gigantic hospital with an international reputation and millions of dollars to throw into staging a Presidential debate. I tell visitors to town that the Cleveland Clinic “is where South American dictators and Arab Sheiks come to get their hearts fixed.”

When I refer to President, I refer to all of them over the years. Presidential caravans usual travel in a line of black SUVs, with VIP car(s) between security cars and roving motorcycles. They roar down the I-71 freeway from Cleveland Hopkins Inter’n Airport to downtown under street bridges each guarded with a Cleveland police cruiser stationed, with emergency lights flashing, above the middle of the freeway. Joyce and I witnessed this once when we were coming along that stretch of I-71. I told her, “Obama.”

Back in Clinton’s term someone in the front yard of a home on the wide Fairmont Boulvard in suburban Beachwood and witnessed a Clinton Presidential caravan barrel by westbound toward the east side of Cleveland. “Seeing that spelled out the power of the President of the United States,” he said.

It’s not like a funeral caravan, with security cars securing intersections as it goes along more or less at regular speed. For high-speed Presidential caravans, local cops stop traffic for a while before this passage, which screws up vehicular travel along and across the stretch of thoroughfare that the Prez is passing along.

Clevelanders are relieved when it is announced that a President will be landing at the Akron-Canton airport, (747 enabled like Hopkins), 40 some miles to the south, and visiting one of those towns instead. The problem of a visiting President is more like excitement to them because it happens so rarely for them.

The President also travels in a smaller jet that can land at smaller airports. President Donald Trump landed at Burke Lakefront Airport, near downtown Cleveland on August 6, 2020. After a small rally there, during that visit Presidential travel in Northeast Ohio was largely, though not all, airborne.

Starting three-days earlier, four very noisy Osprey, (vertical/horizontal propelled) aircraft practiced flying over Cleveland, west side suburbs, all the way to the Whirlpool plant in Cyde Ohio in Sandusky County–over a one hundred mile round trip. When Trump flew in U.S. Marine One (a more standard helicopter), it was surrounded on four corners with giant, insect-looking Ospreys, which according to witnesses made a hell of a racket.

The President returned to Burke Lakefront, and from there a caravan of black SUVs took him to a fundraising at the elite Shoreby Club, inhabited by GOP high rollers, in exclusive Bratenahl Ohio, a suburb along Lake Erie, surrounded by the City of Cleveland, (recently determined by the U.S. census as ‘the poorest city in the U.S.’)

Peaceful protestors, corralled by police, lined Lakeshore Blvd. in Bratenahl, just before the caravan turned into the Shoreby Club.


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