After meeting with Trump, Boeing CEO relents on cost of Air Force OneDid that actually happen? Let's look at the story:
“Cancel [the] order!” Donald Trump, the incoming president of the United States, tweeted ominously about a contract with Boeing to build Air Force One, the state-of-the-art airplanes he and future presidents will rely on.Actually, Trump's December 6 tweet projected the cost as more than $4 billion. PolitiFact came up with an estimate of $3.73 billion.
It took a matter of hours for Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg to get on the phone with the president-elect and smooth things over. On Wednesday, two weeks after the kerfuffle, he made his way south to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to meet face to face.
Trump had slapped a $4 billion price tag on the program to build two more of the next generation of planes and he had pronounced it a waste.
Analysts said that while the Air Force had budgeted $2.7 billion for the Air Force One program, the costs would likely grow to about $4 billion after the planes were actually manufactured. The planes are expected to be operational by the mid-2020s.
The Air Force has published a budgetary document that says research, development, testing and evaluation of the new Air Force Ones -- officially known as the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization -- will cost $2.87 billion between fiscal years 2015 and 2021. However, the project is expected to extend beyond 2021, and experts told PolitiFact it would likely require another $1 billion in subsequent years to finish the job. The Teal Group has estimated that the project will require an additional $858 million between fiscal years 2022 and 2026.So back to the Post story. Was there actually any relenting on Boeing's part?
That adds up to a grand total of $3.73 billion over 12 years. That’s not "more than $4 billion," as Trump said....
... after his meeting with Trump on Wednesday, Muilenburg faced the media, hat in hand, so to speak.So let's sum up: No one at Boeing ever said the cost would be $4 billion. The budget is $2.7 billion. Experts have persuaded PolitiFact that the cost will be just under $4 billion. And Muilenberg has promised that the cost will be ... under $4 billion.
“We’re all focused on the same thing here, we’re going to make sure that we give our war fighters the best capability in the world and that we do it in a way that is affordable for our taxpayers,” Muilenburg said. “And his business head set around that is excellent. It was a terrific conversation. Got a lot of respect for him. He’s a good man. And he’s doing the right thing.”
As for that $4 billion price tag, Muilenburg promised taxpayers would get a break -- though by the time the contract is finished and the planes are flying, Trump is not likely to be still in office.
“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” he said. “And I was able to give the president-elect my personal commitment on behalf of the Boeing Company.”
So for all we know, Muilenberg's promise is merely to deliver the plane for about what it was always expected to cost. What's more, all we (and the president-elect) have is his word. There's nothing binding.
But the media loves this narrative: Trump tweets and large corporations tremble! With 140-character bursts of rage, Hero Trump rescues jobs and saves taxpayers billions! The problem is, there's exactly zero evidence that Trump saved us a dime in the case of Boeing.
But hey, Washington Post, you just print the legend if that's what makes you happy.