Donald Trump has been slapped down for factually incorrect comments saying the government should cancel contracts to build new Air Force One planes, which hurt Boeing’s stock.
Trump said costs for the Boeing 747s were “totally out of control”, though the $4 billion figure he cited appeared to be way off. The US Defense Department budgeted $1.65 billion for the two planes, Reuters reported in January when Boeing won the contract.
Trump told journalists in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York: “I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”
Trump tweeted earlier on Tuesday: “Cancel order!”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Trump’s comments “do not appear to reflect arrangements” with Boeing.
After Trump’s tweet about Air Force One, the value of Boeing’s shares fell by 1.6%, according to financial data company FactSet.
Boeing issued a statement that brushed off Trump’s remarks without even mentioning them.
It said: “We are currently 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.
“We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the President at the best value for the American taxpayer.”
Trump spokesman Jason Miller told reporters: “We’re going to look for ways to save money... We’ll have specifics after the president is sworn in.”
Trump had tweeted in 2013 that he owned Boeing stock calling it a “great company”.
But Miller said on Tuesday he sold all of his stocks in June. In May, Trump’s financial disclosure said he owned stocks in the company worth up to $100,000.
It has been suggested Trump’s seemingly random tweets on subjects are attempts to distract from press attention.
The government has contracted with Boeing to build the planes, which would go into service around 2024, meaning Trump would only fly on them if he won a second term in 2020.
Trump has his own plane, a Boeing 757, which is outfitted with white leather and gold, a large flat-screen television and a bedroom.
But as president he would be expected to fly on an Air Force jet which has special equipment for his safety and communications.