Donald Trump, potential president, has revealed once again that he is an impulsive reactionary willing to cause great disruption in order to address personal slights. He’s thrown himself headfirst into yet another public feud through Twitter because he was rightfully criticized for being a threat to our nation’s economic health.
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
It will come as no surprise that Trump is outrageously exaggerating; the Air Force announced it has earmarked $1.65 billion for two new Air Force One planes. After this tweet, Boeing stock took a huge tumble but has recovered at about one point under its previous value.
But why is Trump suddenly going at Boeing like this? Could it be that someone who actually understands how the economy works is criticizing his unhinged pursuit of personal feuds?
Twenty-two minutes before Trump tweeted, the Chicago Tribune published a story in which the CEO of airplane manufacturer Boeing, which employs 75,000 in the state of Washington alone, decided to share his concerns about Trump’s volatile approach to trade and how Trump is seemingly purposefully provoking China with his calls to Taiwan and talk of tariffs.
CEO Dennis Muilenburg described how America’s trade with China is critical for American workers and the economy itself.
Muilenburg argues that international trade is essential to the U.S. economy and its importance is reflected in the “large and growing percentage of our business” coming from international sales, including commercial jet orders from China.
“Last year, we delivered 495 737s from our factory in Renton, Wash., to customers around the world. One in every 3 of those 737s were bound for China. And about a quarter of all our airplane deliveries … were bound for Chinese customers. This phenomenon would have been unimaginable when I started at the company in 1985,” said Muilenburg, who began his Boeing career as an aerospace engineer.
A steady influx of China commercial jet orders means more work for Boeing’s thousands of U.S. workers while also providing lift for its network of domestic parts supplier and vendors.
Muilenburg suggests the Trump team, and Congress, back off from the 2016 anti-trade rhetoric and perceived threats to punish other countries with higher tariffs or fees.
Instead, he suggests they get down to the business of advocating a stronger U.S. agenda during ongoing or upcoming trade negotiations with other countries. “If we do not lead when it comes to writing these rules, our competitors will write them for us,” he said.
Whether or not Trump will follow through on his threat to cancel the Boeing contract is still unclear. What he would do otherwise is also unclear – would he give the contract to European manufacturer Airbus?
What is clear is that Donald Trump is ruled entirely by his hypersensitive ego and that he is willing to go to great lengths to punish those he thinks have slighted him. He is entirely unfit for the presidency and puts our nation at risk every time he picks up his phone with his stubby little fingers.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.