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Donald Trump's Boeing Twitter tirade 'does not appear to reflect arrangements', White House says

The President-elect's tweet resulted in a temporary $1bn loss for the aeorspace giant

Feliks Garcia
New York
Tuesday 06 December 2016 19:00 GMT
Boeing shares slide after Donald Trump says costs are 'ridiculous'

The White House responded to remarks made by President-elect Donald Trump, where he incorrectly claimed that the Air Force One plane would cost taxpayers $4bn.

Mr Trump's Tuesday morning tweet was the latest in continuous controversy set off by the President-elect's access to social media. In recent days, his online rancor has targeted everything from the aerospace manufacturer, China, and the weekly variety show Saturday Night Live. He sent out the tweet shortly after the Chicago Tribune published remarks made by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg last week.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Mr Trump's remarks "do not appear to reflect arrangements" made between the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, and the US Air Force.

He added that Americans would expect that future presidents would benefit from upgrades to Air Force One.

"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!" Mr Trump wrote in his Monday morning tweet.

In a surprise appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City, he accused Boeing of inflating their costs.

"The plane is totally out of control. I think it's ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number," he told reporters. "We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money."

It remains unclear where Mr Trump got the figures for the cost. Representatives for Boeing responded with a figure significantly less than Mr Trump's supposed $4bn, however.

"We are currently under contract for $170m to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States," Boeing said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the US Air Force on subsequent phases of the programme allowing us to deliver the best planes for the President at the best value for the American taxpayer."

Shortly after Mr Trump's tweet, Boeing's stock fell close to one per cent during pre-market trading – dropping from $152.16 per share to $149.75 per share, according to FactSet.

The temporary .84 per cent drop amounted to about $1bn. They were back up to about .4 per cent by the afternoon.

While speaking at a manufacterer's symposium in Illinois, Mr Muilenberg said: "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 realises that one of the overarching themes was apprehension about free and fair trade."

Boeing won the contract to construct the prestigious fleet of government aircraft in January.

Mr Trump has consistently tweeted false or misleading information since his unexpected election win.

He previously tweeted that he played an instrumental role in keeping a Ford factory from moving to Mexico – that particular facility was never going to leave the country.

Another time, Mr Trump tweeted that he would have won the popular vote against Hillary Clinton were it not for millions of illegal votes. But even his own legal team said there was no evidence of 'fraud or mistake' in the votes cast in November.

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