Trump: Cancel Boeing’s Contract for Air Force One
President-elect Donald Trump threatened to cancel a government contract with Boeing on Tuesday.
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
The Hill reports:
Speaking to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday morning, Trump was asked about the tweet.
“Well the plane is totally out of control,” he said, adding the costs are “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.”
The Pentagon announced in January that Boeing had won the contract to replace the current Air Force One planes. The initial contract was worth just $25.8 million, but the Air Force planned on spending as much as $1.65 billion on the project, according to Reuters.
In a statement, Boeing said it was under a $170 million contract to work on Air Force One.
“We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serves the unique requirements of the President of the United States,” the Boeing statement said. “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.”
As President Obama traveled on Air Force One to Florida Tuesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest questioned Trump’s portrayal of the arrangement.
“I’d refer to my colleagues at the Department of Defense for the particulars of the procurement contract. Some of the statistics that have been cited, shall we say, don’t appear to reflect the nature of the financial agreement between Boeing and the Department of Defense,” Earnest said, according to pool reports.
“I think the American people would expect that future U.S. presidents would benefit from unique and upgraded capabilities while they are traveling and representing the interests of the United States around the world.”
According to Boeing’s website, the aerospace giant is planning on replacing the two 747-200 planes that serve as Air Force One with 747-8s, which they say is the fastest commercial jet in the world and emits less greenhouse gas.
The new planes are expected to be ready by 2024 — which would be Trump’s last year in office if he wins a second term.
Shortly after Trump’s tweet, Boeing’s stocks fell 1 percent in premarket trading, according to CNBC.
Trump tweeted in 2013 that he bought stock in Boeing, a “great company.”
Trump spokesman Jason Miller confirmed in a call with reporters on Tuesday that the billionaire had owned stock in Boeing, but sold all of it in June.
Last week, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg took a veiled shot at Trump’s trade policies during a speech before an Illinois manufacturing trade association, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“I’m not a political pundit or prognosticator — we have too many of those — but anyone who paid attention to the recent campaigns and the election results realizes that one of the overarching themes was apprehension about free and fair trade,” Muilenberg said, noting that the company exports products to China.
“If we do not lead when it comes to writing these rules, our competitors will write them for us,” he added of the international trade agreements that the president-elect has condemned.
Former Boeing CEO Jim McNerney is the member of a new board that Trump formed last week, known as the Strategy and Policy Forum. The 16-member panel, made up of business leaders, is intended to advise the president-elect on economic policy.
One Trump supporter on Capitol Hill echoed the president-elect’s concern about the plane’s price tag.
“We need to look into the costs, we really do,” Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) told The Hill Tuesday morning. “I’m a big fan of Boeing, they’re in South Carolina and they’ve been great corporate neighbors, but we do need to look at the cost of it.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, another South Carolina Republican, said Trump is within his rights to seek a better deal.
“It’s up to him, it’s his plane. If he can get it done cheaper, good.”
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr.