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With Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Trump Creates Another Spectacle

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With Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Trump Creates Another Spectacle

Air Force One, Trump, Boeing

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump extracted a promise from Boeing Co’s chief executive on Wednesday that the cost of replacing Air Force One would not exceed $4 billion, his latest move to use the bully pulpit to pressure companies to help advance his economic agenda.

Trump met with Dennis Muilenburg of Boeing and Marillyn Hewson, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Corp – two defense companies he has made an example of since his Nov. 8 election, sending defense shares tumbling with his complaints about projects he said are too expensive.

He paraded the two CEOs in front of the cameras at the ornate front door of his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is spending Christmas.

“Trying to get the costs down, costs. Primarily the (Lockheed Martin) F-35, we’re trying to get the cost down. It’s a program that’s very, very expensive,” Trump told reporters after meeting with the CEOs and a dozen Pentagon officials involved with defense acquisition programs who he said were “good negotiators.”

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has vowed to address government procurement costs as part of his industrial policy, which also includes taking a hard line on Chinese trade practices and renegotiating multilateral trade deals.

Also on Wednesday, Trump named economist Peter Navarro, an economist who has urged a hard line on China, to head up his White House team on industrial policy.

He also appointed billionaire investor Carl Icahn as a special adviser on regulatory issues, and said Icahn would help him choose the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Muilenburg, whose company was caught off guard by Trump’s broadside earlier this month on the costs for replacing aging Air Force One planes, called his meeting “productive” and spoke admiringly of Trump’s “business head-set.”

Trump has said Boeing’s costs to build replacements for Air Force One aircraft – one of the most visible symbols of the U.S. presidency – are too high and urged the federal government in a tweet to “Cancel order!”

“I think we’re looking to cut a tremendous amount of money off the price,” Trump said on Wednesday.

The Boeing 747-8s are designed to be an airborne White House able to fly in worst-case security scenarios, such as nuclear war, and are modified with military avionics, advanced communications and a self-defense system.

The company is currently under contract for $170 million to help develop plans for the planes.

Trump has said the planes, which are in the early stages of development and are not expected to be ready until 2024, would cost more than $4 billion.

“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” Muilenburg said, telling reporters he gave Trump a “personal commitment” that costs would not run out of control.

Trump has publicly pushed other corporations to change tack, taking credit for forcing United Technologies Corp and Ford Motor Co to alter plans to outsource jobs abroad. Ford, however, said it had no plans to close any U.S. plants.

Asked whether he had secured concessions from Lockheed Martin on its F-35 fighter jet program, which he has complained was “out of control,” Trump said it was to soon to know.

“It’s a dance, you know, it’s a little bit of a dance. But we’re going to get the costs down and we’re going to get it done beautifully,” he told reporters.

Lockheed Martin CEO Hewson, who left Mar-a-Lago without speaking to reporters, said in a statement that her meeting was “productive” and gave her the opportunity to talk about progress in cutting costs.

“The F-35 is a critical program to our national security, and I conveyed our continued commitment to delivering an affordable aircraft to our U.S. military and our allies,” Hewson said.

The costs of the F-35s, used by the Marine Corps and the Air Force, and by six countries, have escalated to an estimated $400 billion, prompting it to be described as the most expensive weapon system in history.

Among the Defense Department officials who met with Trump was Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program chief for the Pentagon.

(Writing by Roberta Rampton; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)

IMAGE: Air Force One sits on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland U.S. December 6, 2016, the same morning that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump urged the government to cancel purchase of Boeing’s new Air Force One plane saying it was “ridiculous” and too expensive.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque



  1. annienoel December 22, 2016

    Wouldn’t Carl Icaan be the first CZAR of this administration?

    1. I Am Helpy December 22, 2016

      Nope – that would be Putin.

  2. Otto T. Goat December 22, 2016

    Trump keeps winning.

    1. browninghipower December 22, 2016

      Winning just what, exactly, Festus? Nothing concrete has happened yet. It’s still empty words and bread and circuses. Man you are easily beguiled. Do you play 3 card Monty perchance?

      1. dave December 22, 2016

        Wait till otto realizes trump was kidding when he promised everybody everything during the campaign !! He held a ‘ rally ‘ the other night and was trying to tell the morons that he was talking to,that his campaign promises were all bullchit ,and he had no plans to do ANYTHING he aid he would !!

    2. itsfun December 22, 2016

      yep and the left keeps whining and losing.

  3. browninghipower December 22, 2016

    Seeing these CEOs slithering out of Mar A Lago or Trump Tower reminds of those industrial toads of days past like Krupp the folks at Mercedes. Worked for them, too.

  4. dave December 22, 2016

    What a joke this is !!! There isn’t even a contract to BUILD them YET and all these morons INCLUDING trump are saying we’ll keep the costs down ?? Have any of you trumpster geniuses figured out that when trump says something it’s only to make some body happy or keep the echo going in his empty head !!!! It’s bullchit,ALL bullchit,ALL THE TIME !!!!! `

  5. Dan S December 22, 2016

    Let us not forget earlier today Putin announced that Russia is expanding its nuclear arsenal. Soon after the puppet tweeted that the US will also expand & replace its aging nuclear arsenal. So this is how we make America great again by starting a new Cold War ???? Of course costs need to be cut elsewhere starting with sticking it to Boeing & Lockheed

    1. dbtheonly December 23, 2016

      You know, Dan, I used to think the F-35 was a giant waste of money as there was no conceivable enemy against whom it might be needed. Potential enemies didn’t have the capabilities to require such an advanced fighter and those with such capabilities were friends or trading partners.

      Just goes to show.

      BTW, has anyone perhaps suggested to Trump, that there might be a problem with a victorious Assad, in Syria, with overt Russian backing, and an emboldened Israel, annexing the Occupied Territories?

  6. Jim Samaras December 22, 2016

    Like negotiating the price down is a bad thing for the American people. Liberalism is a disease and Trump is the cure.

    1. johninPCFL December 22, 2016

      Negotiating is good. We have yet to see whether it’s negotiating, or whether it’s like the Carrier deal where it was straight up crony capitalism.

    2. Thoughtopsy December 22, 2016

      That’s an idiotic over-simplification. I assume if you have a brain you know that and are just trolling.

      In other news:
      How are those Trump election promises going, Right Wing Nut Job?
      I see “Lock her Up” and “Drain the Swamp” have been openly admitted as cons to gain power… and he’s not even President yet.

      I assume you’re deeply offended by Trump lying to his voters?

      1. Jim Samaras December 22, 2016

        You are part of the disease of which I speak. He’s not even president yet and things are happening. Can’t stand it can ya? LOL

  7. stsintl December 22, 2016

    My understanding has been that there is only one POTUS at a time. Why is this President-Elect behaving like he is already sworn in? And why, these corporate executives treating him like he is and kissing his you know what?

  8. itsfun December 22, 2016

    I guess saving money is a bad thing to liberals.

    1. johninPCFL December 22, 2016

      Which kind of government is it where the government tells the private participants how much they can charge, and how many people they must employ? I think it starts with a ‘C’…

      1. itsfun December 22, 2016

        He didn’t tell them what they can charge, he said he wouldn’t pay what they wanted. Do you always pay a car dealer the first price they ask for? Forcing people to buy healthcare may be a government that starts with “C” though.

        1. johninPCFL December 22, 2016

          Yes, telling them that they could no longer avoid paying for their own healthcare by going through the ER and then not paying the bill (thereby forcing taxpayers to pay for their care) was the Heritage Foundations’ concern as well. Their plan was that everybody would sign on for healthcare coverage, and they would negotiate their own plan coverages with multiple insurance companies in the free market. I think it was called personal responsibility and free-market capitalism.

          Sorry you missed the GOP-sponsored memo from 1991.

          1. itsfun December 22, 2016

            You have something against the free market. If people could go over state lines to buy health care, the prices would be lower. People should be able to purchase the plan they want, not a government mandated plan. Now a man has to pay for maternity care for his self. How many men get pregnant? There are also things women have to pay for that only men get. That makes no sense at all. Don’t you remember Obama telling us that our bills would be no larger than our cell phone bill or how we could keep our current policy, or how we could keep our own doctor?

          2. I Am Helpy December 22, 2016

            The only reason that would save money is because Republican governors are deliberately sabotaging their state’s exchanges.

            I hope that helps!

          3. johninPCFL December 22, 2016

            The free market is what’s necessary, and what the GOP’s owners have no intention of allowing.

            “going over state lines” could be addressed either by each individual state or at the federal level. ACA attempted to address it at the federal level rather than trying to get 50 state legislatures to open their proprietary sets of rules and laws to general market principles.

            I don’t know what “maternity plan” you’re paying for, my plan doesn’t have one. Maybe you should check your signup info to see if you’ve got a sex-change operation listed.

            My insurance company changed my policy at least once per year for the decade preceding ACA, but when it was implemented, I kept my policy and kept my doctor. If you didn’t ask for help, whose fault was that?

          4. itsfun December 22, 2016

            You’re not on one of the Obamacare healthcare tax plan then.

    2. Thoughtopsy December 22, 2016

      Again you display your ignorance for all to see.
      Do you know nothing about this deal?
      Did you even bother to look up what the contracts are for and how the magical “$4 billion” number came up?

      Go on… explain the Air Force One contracts and their details.
      Prove you did the base f**king minimum of reading before giving your (previously woefully and lazily uninformed) opinion.

      I’ll hold my breath.

  9. Charles Winter December 22, 2016

    Of course, this will simply mean that Boeing and Lockheed will just more Chinese parts.

  10. Thoughtopsy December 22, 2016

    What a d!ck.
    Enough said.

  11. ralphkr December 22, 2016

    It is very easy to lower the cost of the new Air Force One. A standard VIP 747-8 is only about $600 million so all Boeing has to do is delete some of the presidential frills. I am sure a lot can be saved by eliminating the self-defense feature (I thought the accompanying fighters were to take care of that) and the hardened electronics to withstand EMP is unneeded until atomic warheads are exploding at which point who cares since we are all dead or dying. If standard avionics are good enough for airliners they should be good enough for a President. The fancy communications are nice sooo…it appears the price of a sensible AF-1 comes in at well under ONE Billion. (Note that I was unable to find the sarcasm font for this post).


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