DETROIT—Ford Motor Company lodged a formal complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today, accusing the Secret Service, a DHS agency, of complicity in allowing Pope Francis to engage in “advertising and blatant nationalism” by driving a Fiat 500L in an official U.S. government motorcade.
On Wednesday afternoon, Henry Edsel Ford, Senior VP for Domestic Markets, held a press conference at Ford’s downtown Detroit headquarters to expand on the complaint.
A visibly angry Mr. Ford said Pope Francis is the “Italian car manufacturers’ pope” and the Department of Homeland should not allow him to be driven in a Fiat 500L during official motorcades.
“This is nothing but a six-day, slow-motion, nonstop advertising campaign orchestrated by the Italians, and Homeland Security is cooperating,” Mr. Ford said, referring to the Italy-based Fiat company.
“Clearly, he’s a nationalistic Fiat shill. Okay, sales for those things have been in the dump since 2012. So they figured out a way to get that [expletive] box on just about every TV in the world, 24/7 for six days. We’d like to know the pope’s cut out of their advertising budget.”
During all of his travels in the United States, Pope Francis’ personal car will be a Fiat 500L mini MPV. Italian media are reporting that he will use six different Fiat 500L models during his three-city tour.
Mr. Ford said the company also requested the Secret Service to switch Pope Francis to a 2016 Focus Titanium for motorcades in New York City and Philadelphia.
For a long-term remedy, Mr. Ford said he will be requesting Congress pass legislation mandating only vehicles from U.S.-based companies be allowed in official U.S. government motorcades.
“Clearly, the Secret Service should not be acting like a PR agency for foreign corporations. We just can’t have foreigners coming over here sticking the finger in the faces of American companies like the [expletive] pope in doing. And we’re going to be watching closely to see if he issues an encyclical telling Catholics they should buy Fiats.”
Givhan N. Cites covers national news.