The wings beneath his wind
Out of the blue, it seemed, President-elect Donald Trump was on Twitter Tuesday complaining about plans for the next-generation Air Force One, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo and Laura Figueroa.
“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!”
So is Trump, who belittled the current Air Force One as “a step down” from his private jet, angling to keep his current ride?
Not likely. While his Boeing 757 has an edge in gold-plated bathroom fixtures, it lacks essential presidential accessories, such as missile detection and avoidance systems, electromagnetic shielding, midair refueling mechanisms and super-secure communications. The added weight for some of those extras is one reason the Air Force requires a four-engine jet. Trump’s plane has two.
Also, even if the contract survives and stays on schedule, the new presidential fleet won’t be ready until 2024.
Behind the mile-high clubbing
Why was the Boeing Air Force One deal on Trump’s radar?
Maybe it’s a coincidence, but the tweetburst came about 20 minutes after the Chicago Tribune posted a story on Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg criticizing Trump’s plans for more protectionist trade policies.
One of Boeing’s biggest customers is China, which is in Trump’s crosshairs over trade.
Flynn’s still in, son is out
Trump personally ordered the firing from the transition team of Michael G. Flynn — the son of Mike Flynn, chosen as the next national security adviser — for online trafficking in conspiracy theories, several reports say.
Young Flynn drew unwelcome attention for promoting a canard about a popular Washington pizza joint being a front for a child sex ring run by allies of Hillary Clinton. Police say a believer in the tale shot up the place Sunday.
A source told CNN Flynn’s son had helped his dad with “some administrative and scheduling work ... but isn’t any more.” CNN also reported a source said a security clearance had been previously sought for him.
Retired general Mike Flynn’s own history retweeting fringe fake-news fantasies has critics worried about his suitability for the highly sensitive job.
Cool with Carrier deal
Six in 10 U.S. voters say they view Trump more favorably after the deal he brokered to save about 1,000 jobs at Carrier, the heating and cooling manufacturer, in exchange for tax breaks and a pledge of more pro-business policies, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll.
Critics on both the left and right called it “crony capitalism.”
Not so hot with voters: @realdonaldtrump. A 56% majority of voters say Trump uses Twitter “too much,” while 5% say Trump doesn’t tweet enough and 16 percent say he uses the social-media site “about the right amount.”
Trump: For jobs, it’s war
At a “thank you” tour event in North Carolina Tuesday night, Trump vowed to keep companies from moving overseas.
“We will defend American jobs. We have to look at it almost like a war,” he said.
New or recycled?
The president-elect appeared in Trump Tower’s lobby with Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japan’s SoftBank telecom giant, to announce it would invest $50 billion in the United States and create 50,000 new jobs.
“Masa said he would never do this had we [Trump] not won the election!,” he tweeted.
It was not clear how much of the investment actually was new. Dow Jones reported the $50 billion will come from a previously announced $100 billion international investment fund set up with Saudi Arabia.
How Taiwan call got through
Trump on Twitter last weekend portrayed his protocol-shaking phone conversation with the president of Taiwan as simple courtesy: “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations.”
Turns out it wasn’t that simple. Former Sen. Bob Dole’s law firm has been lobbying Trump and Republicans on Taiwan’s behalf for months to try to tilt U.S. policy in its direction, according to disclosure documents,
“It’s fair to say that we may have had some influence” in arranging the call, Dole told The Wall Street Journal [pay site]
What else is happening:
- Fox News’ Megyn Kelly accused Trump social media director Dan Scavino of inciting threats online against people like her who clashed with his boss. In October, he tweeted: “Watch what happens to her after this election is over.”
- Trump will attend Saturday’s Army-Navy football game in Baltimore.
- LeBron James and some of his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates refused to stay at the Trump Soho hotel while in New York for Wednesday night’s game against the Knicks.
- Real estate brokers marketing apartments in Trump Tower are marketing its Secret Service protection as a new amenity, Politico reports.
- Trump sold off his stock portfolio in June, according to spokesman Jason Miller.
- With his prospects for a Trump administration job looking dim, Chris Christie may be stuck in New Jersey for the rest of his term, but the love is gone. Two polls put his popularity as governor at 18% and 19% respectively.