Hey, you remember that time when you were 14 and you called up your crush with your best friend secretly listening in so that after they could tell you what to say? President Donald Trump did just that, except with the Air Force General in charge of the F-35 program and the fucking CEO of Boeing in the room listening.
The F-35, as you’ll recall, is primarily built by Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s biggest rival. And this was all right as Trump was threatening to buy a magical fantasy jet made by Boeing, according to Bloomberg:
Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the $379 billion F-35 program as “out of control,” made the highly unusual calls to Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan on Jan. 9 and Jan. 17, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Muilenburg, whose company makes a fighter jet Trump has suggested might replace one F-35 model, was in the president-elect’s New York office for a meeting during the second call. He appeared caught off-guard but heard at least Trump’s end of the call, according to the people, who asked to remain anonymous discussing sensitive information.
After Lockheed played Trump like a damn fool by attributing already-planned cost reductions to him, Trump suddenly decided that the F-35 was a “great plane” and decided to keep the fighter jet anyway.
But having Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg listen in as he called Lieutenant General Bogdan isn’t just broadly corrupt on the face of it, it’s apparently also causing “chaos” within the ranks, as one defense analyst told Bloomberg, and it’s because of Trump’s “business übermensch” approach to governing. It’s one thing to call up a program head as the CEO of a corporation, but when you’re the Commander-in-Chief going directly to a much lower subordinate in a system built directly upon the concept of following the proper chain-of-command, it causes mass confusion and an unraveling of the whole process.
Also, calling up a general tasked with spearheading a program mostly provided by one company with the CEO of a rival company right there listening in is very corrupt.
Anyways, it’s a great plane now.