Boeing Survives Trump Twitter Onslaught–This Time

UPDATE: MarketWatch tallies the damage:


President-elect Donald Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the fate of the free world at this point, struck again early this morning with an outburst directed at one of America’s most important worldwide export businesses, aircraft manufacturer Boeing:

Donald Trump on Tuesday called for the cancellation of a Defense Department contract with Boeing to build the next generation of presidential aircraft, decrying the deal as too expensive.

“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!” the president-elect wrote on Twitter.

As it turns out, Trump’s Twitter tirade against Boeing came in response to comments from the CEO of the company that were apparently not supportive enough of the incoming President’s trade policies:

Trump’s tweet came just 22 minutes after the Chicago Tribune published comments by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who said he worried that Trump’s promises of a more protectionist trade policy could hurt his company, which does robust business with China. Muilenburg told the Tribune that he would urge the president-elect to take a warmer stance toward the kinds of trade deals he railed against on the campaign trail, warning, “If we do not lead when it comes to writing these rules, our competitors will write them for us.”

Per usual, nobody knows where Trump got these numbers from, as Yahoo! News’ Michael Walsh reports:

It’s not clear how Trump, who frequently tweets exaggerated or baseless claims, arrived at that number. Reuters, citing budget documents, reported that the “budgeted costs for the Air Force One replacement program are $2.87 billion for the fiscal years 2015 through 2021.”

The aircraft manufacturing company issued a statement clarifying that it is currently under contract for $170 million to determine the capabilities of the new aircraft.

But who cares? The message Trump wanted to send was sent.

Boeing stock slumped Tuesday morning in the wake of the president-elect’s remark, [Pols emphasis] but rebounded somewhat as the morning progressed.

Yes, Boeing’s stock price rebounded once the market realized Trump’s attacks were baseless, but Trump’s ability to hurt Boeing’s market valuation just by Tweeting about them is a warning that very few CEOs in America will miss. The nexus of President-elect Trump’s celebrity influence and the real power he is about to have as President is producing something new in our politics.

And if Trump is going to use it to silence his critics, it’s both new and scary.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    How about putting the interests of American workers above Chinese airplane buyers? You are fighting yesterday's battles. Stop putting China first and start putting America first.

  2. Moderatus says:

    Besides, Trump doesn't need Air Force One. Let's save money!

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Once again, there are a few inaccuracies in Trump's view of the world.

      But hey, maybe Trump is willing to cancel the contract now so he can  allow competition between Boeing and Airbus? Hope the Russian MC-21 could be adequately modified? Go for the China – Japan program? Hope the existing aircraft, delivered in 1990 with a projected life cycle of about 30 years, will last longer?

      According to the WAPO, the Pentagon says the current fleet “faces capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence as it reaches the end of its planned 30-year life-cycle.”

    • Republican 36 says:

      And, pray tell, why he doesn't need Air Force One?

  3. TobiasFunke says:


    Of course, if you wanted to get really cynical about Trump’s possible motivations, you could take the route that Fusion reporter Adam Weinstein did — after first tweeting the serious reason an upgrade is needed — “This is a more rigid national security req’t than most acquisitions,” Weinstein added, “Maybe the real issue here is *he* won’t get to play with the new jet.” Then he pointed out another itty bitty detail: Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who’s been a vital part of Trump’s transition team and gets to suppress civil rights if confirmed as Trump’s Attorney General, is awfully proud of a new Airbus factory in Mobile, Alabama; further, notes Weinstein following that “Just Sayin'” tweet, “There’s a rich recent history of Alabama senators subtweetin’ Boeing owing to the state’s happy, solicitous relationship with Airbus.”
    Anyone know which Trump kid shorted their Boeing stock this morning? 

  4. skipickle says:

    The lesson CEO's might learn may be that it's all bluster from this guy. Let's zoom out on that chart a bit, shall we?  Il Doushe's tweet moved their stock hardly at all. Boeing's up 7% since Trump's election. They will end up getting good publicity out of the fact that they're working on the new AF1.

  5. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Boeing CEO:  "…….if we do not lead when it comes to writing these rules, our competitors will write them for us……."    

    Hmm, why does that remind me of the ill-fated TPP trade deal?  Thanks to short sighted political candidates like Trump, Hillary, and Bernie, China is, for now, in the economic driver's seat in the western Pacific.

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