Did Trump Intentionally Crash Boeing’s Stock?
On Tuesday, Donald Trump tweeted, out of the blue, a claim that Boeing would be building the new Air Force One 747 with a price-tag set to the tune of $4 billion.
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!
Later, outside of Trump Towers, our President-elect decided to double down telling reporters,
“The plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion 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.”
Immediately after his bizarre comments, headlines like these began popping up everywhere:
Boeing, aiming to clarify and to recoup a share-price that dropped by $2 after Trump’s tweet, released the following statement on their website:
So there you have it. Boeing’s Air Force One contract is only for $170 million, and not $4 billion as Trump claimed and threatened to cancel. Case closed. This is just another Trump lie that’s not based in reality, and is being sensationalized by our media. Right?
Not exactly. Trump may have been referring to the total cost for the two new 747’s, required for security reasons, but as you can see in the public USAF documents, that $4 billion figure is not that far off.
The numbers aren’t set in stone and as of Trump’s tweet, Boeing’s contract is only for $170 million but this may explain where Trump got his $4 billion figure. Then the Air Force released a clarifying statement:
@usairforce issues statement regarding @realDonaldTrump's comments on @Boeing, Air Force One
The real story may be the consequences that Trump’s tweet caused for Boeing. It begs the question, was this a calculated assault on a trusted government contractor?
Many speculate that Trump’s tweet was prompted by this Chicago Tribune interview, where Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg criticized Donald Trump’s anti-trade views. Trump tweeted out his desire to cancel Boeing’s contract only 22 minutes after this interview was made public. We need only look at his reactions to SNL skits to know how well Donald Trump takes public criticism. He’s compelled to respond.
Also, it’s important to note that it wouldn’t be the first time that our President-elect promptly took to Twitter to react to a news story. After instances of flag-burning in protest of a Trump presidency was reported on Fox and Friends, only minutes passed before Trump tweeted out his calls for loss of citizenship and year long jail sentences.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that Air Force One is designed to endure nuclear war. It is a piece of military hardware and a symbol of American power projection. There are countless communications, countermeasures and security concerns that must be maintained and improved upon. It is essentially a flying White House, and The Pentagon has said that the current jets, built in 1990, face ‘capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence as it reaches the end of its planned 30-year life-cycle.”
Would our President-elect really jeopardize the production of a new Air Force One(s) all because his pride was hurt?