American Exceptionalism often translates as exceptions for Americans when abroad. President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden were exempt, for example, from riding a bus full of world leaders to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.
Rather than ride in the shuttle full of world leaders to Westminster Abbey, Biden was the only world leader allowed to arrive in his own vehicle: The Beast. Of course, not riding in transit led to unforeseen circumstances, like the heavily-armored presidential limo getting stuck in traffic. At least they were sitting outside of a Pret a Manger, according to the Evening Standard, so at least the presidential pair could get some yogurt cups and a soggy sandwich before the funeral.
Not only was Biden in The Beast, but traveled with a “reduced” motorcade of only five accompanying vehicles. The extra cars certainly didn’t help with the traffic jam situation. The stated reason for the special treatment was security, of course. Which is fair! The President of the United States is a target anywhere he goes in the world in a way that, say, the Belgium prime minister is not (no disrespect to PM Alexander De Croo!)
It doesn’t do much for the American reputation of rejecting public transit. This transit wasn’t even really public! Just a shuttle full of fellow world leaders really. Perhaps Biden’s presence on such a vehicle would put the rest of the world leaders aboard in more danger. Either way, Biden and the First Lady did make it to the church by 10 a.m., a few hours after other leaders had filed in.
This version of The Beast hit the presidential motorcade back in 2018 under President Trump. It may look like a Cadillac, but actually sits on GMC TopKick truck platform, Car And Driver reports. It weighs more than 15,000 pounds (or a one-and-a-half Hummer EVs). Not a ton is known about the vehicle, except that it is fortified against gunfire and explosions, and is outfitted with everything including a blood supply in Biden’s blood type.