Report: Trump Bad-Mouthed 737 Before Grounding Decision

He told officials Boeing model 'sucked'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2019 6:50 AM CDT
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An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 sits at a boarding gate at LaGuardia Airport Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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(Newser) – The US became the last major county to ground the Boeing 737 Max on Wednesday—shortly before the aircraft's maker grounded the entire global fleet. Boeing says it "continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 Max," but it will ground all 371 of the aircraft in operation "out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety" while Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash is investigated, the BBC reports. Trump's announcement about grounding the planes Wednesday came after discussions in which he told officials the Boeing 737 "sucked," sources tell the Washington Post. The Post's sources say that in discussions on grounding the aircraft, Trump, who said Tuesday that modern aircraft are too complex, "played the role of aviation expert," comparing other models to the Boeing 757 he owns.

Politico reports that despite Trump making the announcement, Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell "took responsibility for the decision," which was made after reviewing new evidence and "refined" satellite data. Elwell had this to say Wednesday: "It became clear to all parties that the track of the Ethiopian Airlines [flight] was very close and behaved very similarly to the Lion Air flight. The evidence we found on the ground made it even more likely the flight path was very close to Lion Air's." That data was reportedly received at 10:30am Wednesday; a 1pm meeting of the FAA and Department of Transportation followed, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao phoned Trump 30 minutes later with the decision. (Read more Boeing stories.)

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