Did Trump Retaliate Against Boeing After CEO Ripped Trump’s Trade Policy?

President-elect Donald Trump may have caused stock for Boeing, America’s most prolific aircraft manufacturer, to drop dramatically. In a tweet posted on Tuesday at around 8:52 am EST, Trump railed against Boeing’s supposed price-gouging, demanding that the United States Air Force cancel a “$4 billion” order.

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion,” Trump tweeted. “Cancel order!”

That tweet may have caused Boeing stocks to plunge. Upon opening, the markets indicated that Boeing stock fell nearly $2 a share, stunning speculators and investors.

Here’s a graph detailing the sudden stock crash, courtesy of The Washington Post.

As shareholders panicked, Boeing was forced to release an official statement, correcting the record:

Here are the hard facts.

Boeing was awarded a $170 million contract by the Air Force in 2015. Additionally, “The $170 million isn't for manufacturing, after all. It's for Boeing's work "determin[ing] the capabilities" of the planes they will eventually produce,” according to the Post.

Adding insult to injury, the timing of Trump’s tweet is suspicious. As CNN’s Jake Tapper noted, the Chicago Tribune published an article on Tuesday at 7:30 am EST, featuring an implicitly anti-Trump statement by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

In a speech delivered at the Illinois Manufacturing Association on Friday, Muilenberg appeared to criticize Trump’s protectionist trade policies, stating the following:

Anyone who paid attention to the recent campaigns and the election results realizes that one of the overarching themes was apprehension about free and fair trade...Last year, we delivered 495 737s from our factory in Renton, Wash., to customers around the world. This phenomenon would have been unimaginable when I started at the company in 1985.

By Trumpian standards, Muilenburg comments were relatively tame. But when the Tribune made the comments available to an audience outside of the manufacturing association event, Trump and his operatives may have been subsumed by ire, prompting the president-elect to retaliate. It wouldn’t be the first time Trump petulantly targeted his supposed political enemies via Twitter.

Unfortunately, Trump’s tweeting sprees now have serious consequences. Whether deliberate or not, the president-elect’s tweets likely inflicted financial damage to one of the largest defense contractors and aircraft suppliers in the country.

That’s not business-friendly.


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