James Forsyth

Making the motorcade

Making the motorcade
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The New Yorker has a really fun piece this week about a New Republic journalist who was drafted in to drive a car in the president-elect’s motorcade a couple of days before the inauguration. Here’s the bit where she’s given her instructions:

The Secret Service guys told her the drill: it would all happen fast; the Suburbans would pull out, one of them with Obama inside, and she would follow right behind. One of the agents had a Starbucks drink, and he offered Lear a sip: six espresso shots on ice. “He told me he gets it three times a day,” she said. They gave her one piece of driving advice: “Don’t hit anything, and drive like you stole it.”

After an hour and a half, Lear’s passengers arrived: General James L. Jones took shotgun; Lawrence Summers and two men she didn’t recognize got in back. No one spoke. “The ride there was so awkward,” Lear said. “I was racking my brain about some introduction I could make.” Finally, someone brought up the World Economic Forum, in Davos—General Jones said he guessed he was going; Summers said it sounded fun—and Lear was listening closely until she realized, “O.K., I need to focus on not crashing General Jones and Larry Summers and all these important people! I need to execute this task properly.” She concentrated on the driving: a real-life Grand Theft Auto. Secret Service agents leaned out of the Suburbans in front of her, holding their guns. There was no stopping at red lights—policemen blocked the intersections—and no other cars in the street.I’m not sure whether I’m more worried by randoms getting recruited to drive in the president-elect’s motorcade or by Secret Service agents knocking back six espresso shots in one go.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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