Donald Trump fired a shot at Boeing today. Citing cost overruns, he wants to cancel the air force order of “Airforce One”, the specialized plane that jets the president.
Here’s the Tweet.
Boeing is the latest company to come under Trump’s scrutiny as noted by the Wall Street Journal in Trump Says U.S. Should ‘Cancel Order’ for New Air Force One, Citing Costs.
“The contractors are really bemused,” said Loren Thompson at the Lexington Institute, a think tank part-funded by Boeing and other defense companies.
Boeing is the second-largest Pentagon contractor after Lockheed Martin Corp.—which is building the fleet of new helicopters that will serve as Marine One—and makes fighter jets, surveillance planes, bombs and other systems that generated sales of almost $19 billion from the Pentagon last year, a fifth of its total revenues.
Chicago-based Boeing hasn’t secured deals to build the planes that would replace the current aircraft used as Air Force One, which have been in flight since the administration of George H.W. Bush.
The two heavily modified 747-200 planes used by the president are due to reach the end of their planned 30-year life in 2017. This can be extended a few more years, and the Air Force has said in budget documents it wanted to have the first new jet in place by 2023 or 2024.
The $4 billion price tag Mr. Trump referenced for the cost of the new aircraft couldn’t be immediately confirmed.
The Air Force earmarked $1.65 billion between 2015 and 2019 to develop two replacement jets, and said it may acquire up to three. However, it hasn’t detailed the expected cost or delivery dates for building the planes as talks continue with Boeing, the White House and the Secret Service.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Mr. Trump said of the planned Air Force One deal in brief remarks in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City. “I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money but not that much money.”
“The statistics that have been cited [by Mr. Trump], shall we say, don’t appear to reflect the nature of the financial arrangement between Boeing and the Department of Defense,” said Obama White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
Mr. Trump has used Twitter extensively throughout his presidential campaign and following the election. Tuesday’s tweet is his latest rebuke to a major U.S. company. Mr. Trump has also used Twitter to hit Ford Motor Co. and United Technologies Corp.’s Carrier unit for plans to move production overseas.
If nothing else, Trump Tweets are sure to provide writers and comedians with plenty of material for the next four years.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock