Welcome to Trump International Airport: House Republicans push to rename DC hub after former president

House Republican lawmakers are pushing to rename Washington DC’s international airport after former president Donald Trump, who is no stranger to having his name plastered onto the side of large buildings.

Rep Guy Rechenthaler of Pennsylvania, the party’s chief deputy whip in the House, introduced bill HR 7845 on Friday, which proposes changing the airport’s name to “Donald J Trump International Airport”.

“In my lifetime, our nation has never been greater than under the leadership of President Donald J Trump,” Mr Reschenthaler told Fox News Digital.

“As millions of domestic and international travellers fly through the airport, there is no better symbol of freedom, prosperity and strength than hearing ‘Welcome to Trump International Airport’ as they land on American soil.”

The bill is so far co-sponsored by six other Republican lawmakers including Reps Michael Waltz of Florida, Andy Ogles of Tennessee, Charles Fleischmann of Tennessee, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Barry Moore of Alabama, and Troy Nehls of Texas.

Given the razor-thin Republican majority in the lower chamber of Congress and the Democrat majority in the Senate, the bill has almost no chance of becoming law.

Understandably, the idea of naming such a major piece of public infrastructure after Mr Trump is not popular with everyone.

In a statement to Politico, Democratic Rep Gerry Connolly, who represents part of northern Virginia that includes Dulles, said: “Donald Trump is facing 91 felony charges. If Republicans want to name something after him, I’d suggest they find a federal prison.”

Similarly, Rep Don Beyer, another Democrat from the local area, wrote on X that one of Mr Trump’s first acts as president was his racist Muslim ban. Mr Beyer recalled going to Dulles to help innocent people caught up in the chaos.

“I remember Republicans like those who wrote this bill hiding and giving mealy-mouthed responses when asked about the suffering Trump’s Muslim ban caused. They know Dulles will never be renamed after Trump. Again, that’s not the point, the point is to suck up to their Dear Leader.”

He added: “My friend [Rep Jamie Raskin], who was with us in Dulles that day, recently said ‘America faces a memory test today.’ He’s right.”

There was sort of bipartisan support for renaming the airport after Mr Trump from Philadelphia Democratic congressman Brendan Boyle, who wrote on X: “Dulles is an old, ugly airport that no one wants to see. So I think this is a fitting tribute to 45.”

Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia (Getty Images)
Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia (Getty Images)

Washington Dulles International Airport, which straddles both Fairfax County and Loudoun County in northern Virginia, was opened in 1962.

It is currently named after John Foster Dulles, an influential secretary of state during the Cold War under President Dwight Eisenhower and an advocate of an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world.

Its main terminal is a well-known landmark designed by architect Eero Saarinen who also designed the TWA Flight Center at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport — now preserved as a hotel.

Approximately 24 million passengers pass through the airport annually and it handles approximately 90 per cent of international traffic into the Washington-Baltimore area and is a major hub for United Airlines and its Star Alliance partners.

Ronald Reagan Washington National and Baltimore/Washington International are the other two airports serving the wider capital region, but predominantly handle domestic traffic.

Mr Trump often refers to America’s airports in his rally speeches as he bemoans the state of infrastructure in the US — having continually failed to address the issue in four years as president.

In one especially memorable gaffe in 2019, the then-president also appeared to claim that American troops had taken control of the fledgling nation’s airports from the British during either the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.

Mr Trump flies on his private plane and doesn’t ever appear to have to deal with airports.