On Tuesday, Donald Trump sent out a tweet criticizing Boeing for the cost of the eventual replacement for Air Force One.
‘Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!’
Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
There are a few problems with this tweet. For starters, it is inaccurate. The replacements for Air Force One are not finished yet and so far the only costs that have been incurred are the designs. Boeing was awarded a $169 million contract to design the next generation of Air Force One. We don’t know how much the project will cost, but, so far, it isn’t even close Trump’s $4 billion.
Another problem with this tweet is the reasoning behind it. It’s possible that Trump is legitimately concerned about the price. But if that is the case then why didn’t he retract his statement when Boeing pointed out that his estimate of the $4 billion price tag was incorrect?
Talking Points Memo has a more interesting theory about Trump’s reasoning. They note that Trump’s tweet was sent out 20 minutes after the Chicago Tribune published an article where Boeing’s CEO made comments that were slightly critical of the President-Elect’s position on trade.
The Tribune recounts Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s comments made before the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association last week. Boeing does most of its manufacturing in the U.S., but nearly a quarter of its planes are shipped to China.
‘Last year, we delivered 495 737s from our factory in Renton, Wash., to customers around the world. One in every 3 of those 737s were bound for China. And about a quarter of all our airplane deliveries … were bound for Chinese customers. This phenomenon would have been unimaginable when I started at the company in 1985.’
The situation highlights a problem with Trump’s stance on trade. It’s understandable to be frustrated when American companies move jobs to China, but tariffs could hurt American companies that rely on exports.
To be clear, we do not know the reason for Trump’s tweet. However, the president-elect is famously thin skinned. He has gotten into Twitter wars with the New York Times and CNN for their coverage of him. Earlier this month, he blasted SNL for daring to mock him, despite the fact that he hosted the show a year ago. It would not be out of character for him to attack Boeing over their CEO’s mild criticism of his trade policies.
Featured image via Getty Images.