Now, on its face that may not be so surprising a claim from Trump. But he made it during an appearance at the Luis Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Puerto Rico to show support for the people of the US Caribbean territories hit by Hurricane Maria. The president appears eager to prove to the country that he and he alone is responsible for lowering costs on the program. (We won’t go into the argument about whether the program’s overall cost is rising because the purchase of jets by the Air Force has been slowed by 20 planes a year. It is, but that’s got little to do with the price being paid for each plane, which has been and will probably continue to go down for the next few years.)
An Air Force official present during one of Trump’s appearances today must have been impressed that the president turned to him after he said four air strips were now open and said: “Amazing job. So amazing, we are ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of new airplanes for the Air Force. Especially the F-35. You like the F-35?”
The poor fellow told Trump he thought it was “an awesome airplane” that would be “game-changing.” The president said he’d been told the plane performed in fights “really well, you can’t see it. You literally can’t see it. So it’s hard to fight a plane you can’t see.”
We won’t engage in a detailed analysis of whether one can see the plane or not. We all know what Trump meant. It all ended mercifully for the Air Force rep after Trump told him: “But that’s an expensive plane you can’t see. As you heard, we cut the price substantially, something that other administrations would never have done. That I can tell you.”
That’s just not true, but we won’t go into that, since Breaking D readers already know it.
Imagine the relief of the Air Force rep as the president called out to ask who was there representing the Coast Guard, whose funding he once tried to slash. The president apparently did not ask about the new Coast Guard ice breakers or claim credit for cutting their costs.