This might be just one giant coincidence, but just a few days ago, President-elect Donald Trump called out Boeing’s bid for replacing the two Air Force One planes and threatened to cancel the order in yet another Twitter outburst.
The president-elect claimed that Boeing’s contract to build a new 747 Air Force One would cost $4 billion.
Curiously, The New York Post reported that Boeing has since decided to donate $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, which is the exact same amount given by Boeing for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.
Trump’s Twitter attack sent a tremor in the stock market, sending defense and aerospace industry stocks tumbling by nearly 1 percent, before markets opened.
The president’s-elect’s comments were apparently a reaction to remarks made by Boeing Chief Executive Dennis A. Muilenberg that were viewed as an indirect criticism of Trump’s trade policies in a column in 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," he said.
The Washington Post reported that following Trump’s tweet, Muilenberg spoke with the president-elect about bringing down program costs and assured him that Boeing would work with the Pentagon to keep costs down.
Trump himself confirmed the conversation saying on NBC’s “Today Show" that Muilenburg was “a good man” and “a terrific guy.”
As far as the Air Force One contract is concerned, Trump said: “We’re going to work it out. We’re going to get the prices down, and if we don’t get the prices down, we’re not going to order them. We’re going to stay with what we have.”
Boeing said in a statement that its current contract for the presidential planes is for $170 million, but according to publicly available documents, the Pentagon has budgeted about $4 billion in total spending through 2021 to buy two new Air Force One planes from the company.
Uncharacteristically, Trump’s figure of $4 billion may not have been wrong, but his public bullying of the CEO of a large corporation has, puzzlingly, landed him a donation for his inauguration. While we may never know if the two events are related, it certainly foreshadows how Trump will conduct his presidency in the form of dubious public relations stunts.
Banner Photo: Reuters