The day after President-elect Donald Trump said he would “cancel” an order with Boeing for new Air Force One jets, he went on the Today Show to explain his criticism of the company.
“Well I think the planes are too expensive,” Trump told the Today Show’s Matt Lauer. “I spoke to a terrific guy yesterday, the head of Boeing, and I think we’re going to work it out, but you know, that’s what I’m here for, I’m going to negotiate prices.”
Trump claimed on Tuesday that the cost of the new Boeing 747-8s that are slated to become the new Air Force One is upwards of $4 billion. A statement from Boeing clarified that it was under contract for $170 million to explore the development of a new plane. The Air Force also said they had budgeted $3.2 billion for two planes that would both act as Air Force One to be spent over 10 years.
“The planes are too expensive and we’re going to get the prices down,” said Trump. “If we don’t get the prices down, we’re not going to order them and we’re going to stay with what he have.”
As noted by Business Insider’s Benjamin Zhang, the development process would put the new planes in service in 2024, meaning the current planes would be 34 years old by that time.
Trump also explained that criticism from Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg was not the reason for his tweet. Multiple media outlets pointed out that Trump’s tweet came shortly after a Chicago Tribune article highlighted comments from Muilenberg criticising some of the president-elect’s trade policies.
“Only the planes, because I didn’t see any article where he was critical of trade policies, and my trade policies are going to be terrific,” said Trump.
Boeing is one of the US’s largest exporters.
Lauer also asked Trump if he thought that his tweet had made business leaders and CEOs nervous that they would be the next to be targeted by the president-elect on social media, noting a Washington Post story that said CEOs are “unnerved” by Trump’s “unpredictable” tweeting.
“What happens is [business leaders] are so unnerved that the stock market is at an all-time record since I won the nomination — number one, we did well — and after I won the election you see what happened,” said Trump. “In the history of our country, there’s never been an up this big after an election. So I don’t know how somebody said that people are unnerved, it’s just the opposite.”
Trump also defended his trade policies, which economists and business leaders have worried would cause a damaging trade war in the US. In fact, Trump himself compared trade to war at a victory rally in Fayetteville, NC on Tuesday night.
“I believe in free trade, but I don’t believe in stupid trade,” said Trump. “Stupid trade is when companies all move out of country, fire their workers, and then come back in Matt and sell their product back in with no retribution.”
Trump also reiterated his proposal that if a company off-shores jobs, their products will be subject to a tax.