[image-1]Military strength, an increased workforce, and American exceptionalism — these were the promises laid out by President Donald Trump as he addressed Boeing employees in North Charleston. Standing before the manufacturer’s new 787-10 Dreamliner, Trump was met with chants of “U.S.A” as he took the stage.
“I have to say, that is one beautiful airplane. Congratulations to the men and women here who have built it. What an amazing piece of art. What an amazing piece of work,” the president told the enthusiastic crowd, adding, “We’re here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing. We’re also here to celebrate jobs.”
Trump has been critical of Boeing in the past. In December, the company’s stock plummeted after the then president-elect tweeted, “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!”
[embed-2] According to Politifact, the president’s $4 billion figure was not too far off from the actual estimate for the project, but that price would be spread out over 12 years. While in North Charleston on Friday, Trump called the Air Force One project “difficult for previous administrations,” but indicated that an amicable agreement was within reach.
As a part of his promise to strengthen the American military, the president stated that Boeing would play a key role, as the manufacturer of the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-14 Strike Eagle, and the Apache helicopter.
“Peace through strength. We build a military might so great, and we are going to do that, that none will dare to challenge it. None. We will ensure our men and women in uniform have the latest, the most cutting-edge systems in their arsenal,” Trump told Boeing employees. “Right now, it is not that way. It will be that way very, very soon. Believe me. You will be an important player in this effort.”
The United States’ defense budget has steadily decreased since 2010, but remained around $598 billion as of last year — a total almost equivalent to the defense budgets of the next 14 countries combined.
“As your president, I’m going to do everything I can to unleash the power of the American spirit and to put our great people back to work. This is our mantra: Buy American, and hire in America,” Trump said during his speech that promised substantial penalties for companies moving overseas, massive reductions in regulations, and lower taxes on American businesses.
[embed-1] As an example of this mantra, the president referenced his support for the controversial Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline projects. Trump signed an executive order late last month to revive the pipeline projects. In addition to ongoing protests, tribal groups have joined together in taking legal action to halt completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, arguing that the project will desecrate the nearby waters which Cheyenne River Sioux tribal members rely on for religious practices.
For President Trump, the concern is less about where the pipelines run and more about the materials used to make them.
“You probably saw the Keystone Pipeline I approved recently and the Dakota [Pipeline],” Trump told the crowd in North Charleston. “When I was getting ready to sign the bill, I said, ‘Where is the pipe made?’ And they told me, ‘Not here.’ I said, ‘That’s good. Add a little sentence that you have to buy American steel.”
Trump finished his speech with a refrain that should be familiar to all those who have followed his path to the White House, saying, “You’ve heard me say it before, and I will say it again: From now on, it is going to be America first.”