Bush Puts a Criminal on Air Force One

In a show of support, President Bush will give scandal-ridden House of Representatives Republican leader Tom DeLay an Air Force One ride to Washington from Texas on Tuesday, a White House spokesman said.

DeLay is under fire over allegations that he violated ethics rules by allowing lobbyists to pay for some of his overseas travel, including a May 2000 trip to Britain that included golf at the St. Andrews golf course in Scotland.

The Texas Republican has accused Democrats and the media of conducting a witch hunt, and the White House has called him a friend of Bush and said Bush appreciates the work he is doing as the No. 2 Republican in the House.

DeLay is to attend with Bush an event in Galveston, Texas, on Tuesday about the president’s proposals to overhaul Social Security and then will ride back to Washington with him aboard Air Force One, the spokesman said on Monday.