On Tuesday morning, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the Boeing contract to build the next Air Force One plane “costs are out of control” and said that the order should be canceled.
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
Later, reporters caught up with Trump at Trump Tower and asked for clarification on the tweet and he said:
“Well, the plane is currently out of control,” Trump said. “It’s gonna be over $4 billion — it’s for Air Force One program — and I think it’s ridiculous. 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.”
President-elect Trump on his desire to cancel Boeing’s Air Force One order: “We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money” pic.twitter.com/kIdpCy0JuX
— CNN (@CNN) December 6, 2016
Boeing, America’s largest exporter and the world’s largest airline manufacturer, responded to the tweet, indirectly disputing President-elect Trump’s $4 billion number, stating that they are “currently under contract for $170 million” and according to Politico, the current Pentagon budget for two planes is $1.65 billion.
“We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States. We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the President at the best value for the American taxpayer.”
Trump’s salvo may be the businessman’s attempt at a negotiating ploy, even if his number is not accurate, as he is prone to bloviation and hyperbole.
Or, it may be punishment to Boeing’s concern about Trump’s trade policies, given that China is a large customer of the airline manufacturer — an attempt to use his bully pulpit — Twitter — to coerce Boeing to fall in line with his trade policies.
Trump apparently tweeted 22 minutes after Chi Trib pubbed an article about Boeing's worry abt Trump's trade policies https://t.co/9hwRZ6wgrg
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 6, 2016