×

Trump's Boeing attack follows article with CEO's pro-trade argument

Donald Trump's Tuesday morning criticism of Boeing closely followed the publication of a story in which the aerospace giant's CEO expressed concerns about the trade agenda Trump has backed.

The Chicago Tribune published a column Tuesday morning which included Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg's recent comments arguing that free trade is a crucial part of the U.S. economy. Boeing has a lucrative jet business in China.

Muilenburg expressed concerns about resistance to trade, which is partly driven by Trump repeatedly slamming the Trans-Pacific Partnership and North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump appealed to many blue-collar voters by saying those deals cost Americans jobs and depressed their wages.

Only 22 minutes after the article published, Trump threatened on Twitter to "cancel" Boeing's contract for new Air Force One jets, arguing that an unconfirmed $4 billion cost was too high for the project.

There is no clear indication that the Tribune story, or another Washington Post article about Pentagon waste, specifically prompted Trump's attack. Still, he has used his favorite social media platform repeatedly in the past to respond to coverage he views as unfavorable.

For instance, Trump has used Twitter to criticize coverage from The New York Times and CNN, among other outlets.

Trump's tweet moved markets, as Boeing shares fell as much as 1 percent Tuesday before recovering.

The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.