President-elect Donald Trump fired a shot across the bow of aerospace giant Boeing on Tuesday morning. In a tweet, Trump noted his displeasure with the price tag associated with the $4 billion price tag associated with the building a pair of Boeing 747s to serve as Air Force Ones, and even suggested the U.S. government cancel the order.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
When asked about his comment by a reporter later in the day, Trump reiterated his objections.
“The plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for the Air Force One program and I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump later said to a reporter at Trump Tower. “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.”
Boeing has responded to the President-elect’s statement, saying they look forward to delivering “the best value” for taxpayers.
So, was Donald Trump out of line to publicly blast Boeing? Hardly.
Boeing has a history of engaging in the very type of crony capitalism Trump has promised to bring to an end. The company’s lucrative relationship with Washington insiders has been well documented.
Most recently, the company’s very public ties with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been a source of controversy.
In April of 2014, The Washington Post reported Clinton’s cozy ties with the Boeing corporation, saying that Clinton made a “shameless pitch” to Russia on behalf of Boeing to secure a $3.7 billion contract for the Aerospace company. In an article entitled “For Hillary Clinton and Boeing, a beneficial relationship”, the Post reported:
On a trip to Moscow early in her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton played the role of international saleswoman, pressing Russian government officials to sign a multibillion-dollar deal to buy dozens of aircraft from Boeing.
The November 2009 episode was an indicator of a mutually beneficial relationship between one of the world’s major corporations and a potential future president. Clinton functioned as a powerful ally for Boeing’s business interests at home and abroad, while Boeing has invested resources in causes beneficial to Clinton’s public and political image.
So what did the Clintons get in return?
According to The Washington Post, two months after the deal, the Clinton Foundation received a $900,000 donation from Boeing. Two years later, Boeing also paid Bill Clinton $250,000 to deliver a speech.
The Washington Post also reports that Boeing’s in-house lobbyist, former Bill Clinton aide Tim Keating, co-hosted a fundraiser for Ready for Hillary, a super PAC backing Hillary Clinton’s presidential run.
With this kind of crony-capitalist quid-pro-quo as a backdrop, perhaps the American people should be looking into whether or not Boeing deserves this or any contract it has with the U.S. government.
Benson, Fowler dig into Trump’s Boeing message