The “short attention span” president elect continues his attempt to govern in 140 characters or less. This morning he came out against the Boeing contract to build the Air Force One replacements.
First, a bit of background before we get into the twit’s tweet.
There are two “Air Force One” planes. However, only the one the president is actually using is called Air Force One. Technically, the planes are Boeing 747-200Bs and are designated VC-25A.
The two planes currently used by President Obama, were put into service when Bush, the elder, was president. Presidential planes are supposed to have an active duty life of 30 years, and the 30 years is up in 2017. However, the replacements won’t be ready until sometime in 2020.
The planes slated to replace the current Air Force Ones, are Boeing 747-8s. In January of last year, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stated that this was the only plane made in the United States that, “consistent with the national public interest,” could meet the requirements for the presidential aircraft.
According to Boeing’s press release this afternoon,
We are currently working under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States.
The Air Force has budgeted $2.87 billion for the two Air Force One replacements, for the fiscal years 2015 through 2021.
Defense consultant, Dr. Loren B. Thompson of the Lexington Institute, explained the expense,
Air Force One has unique communications, safety and self-protection features so that the president can function under the most trying circumstances — like nuclear war. The price tag is driven by the demands of the mission.
Enter: Donald Trump!
At 5:52, this morning, he sent out a tweet,
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!
Where he got the “more than $4 billion,” other than out of thin air, is anybody’s guess. He seems to have a chronic problem with facts.
Completely nonsensical and based on exactly nothing. But it’s very difficult to adjudicate on complicated program management and military requirements questions with Twitter as your medium.
The predawn tweet calls into question the government’s contractual commitments. As Franklin Turner, a partner specializing in government contracts at law firm McCarter & English, described it,
The chilling effect on industry is huge, if you are a contractor.
The tweet caused Boeing stock to take a hit, although it recovered later in the day.
Oh, and not to worry about Trump’s bottom line. He dumped his Boeing stock in June.