All media representatives along for the visit were invited to the track, so there are various angles of the President pulling up next to them and saying he believed he hit 60 mph (96.5 kph) in about 4.4 seconds. “This sucker is quick,” he enthused, as he prepared to drive off again, to see just how fast he could go on the open track.
Shortly after the video went public, reports started popping up, claiming this was some sort of stunt to show just how “competent” the President is. Put it simply, the allegations are that the prototype actually had double steering and that Biden wasn’t really driving it—the guy to his left was, the Secret Service agent. That is based on screencaps of the agent holding onto something to the dashboard that might look like a steering wheel but is more likely either some type of camera equipment or the dashboard itself.
Ford CEO Jim Farley tells the Detroit Free Press that it was really the President at the wheel and confirms that they were blindsided by the request to go for a test drive. The possibility had been discussed before, but it had also been discarded. Then, during the President’s speech, which is also when he “joked” about wanting to go for a drive, White House officials approached Farley to make it happen.
Farley had to make a choice, and he made the right one, if only considering the amount of media attention the event got. He got a working prototype of the F-150 Lightning out on the track and then joined the 50 or so reporters and Secret Service agents. Training for Biden included verbal tips like “Just mash the throttle. The thing is super fast. Mr. President, give it full throttle. It's really fun to drive.”
For how unprepared Farley and everyone at Ford admittedly were, no one was nervous about letting the most important man in the United States at the wheel of a prototype car he’d never driven before. “I was not nervous,” Farley says for the same media outlet. “I think he has lots of people to make sure everything will be fine.”
As expected, Farley doesn’t mention the conspiracy that the whole test drive was a stunt.
President Biden test drives F-150 Lightning: "This sucker's quick!" pic.twitter.com/BoVG04Ro9M— CSPAN (@cspan) May 18, 2021