Trump summons contractors, officers to Mar-a-Lago over spending

The two largest US defence contractors said Wednesday they would seek to control their costs after President-elect Donald Trump summoned them and a bevy of top Pentagon officials to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Wednesday to discuss military spending. “We’re trying to get costs down,” Trump told reporters in brief remarks outside the resort after the officers departed. “Primarily the F-35. That programme is very, very expensive.” Trump has employed his Twitter account and its nearly 18 million followers as a weapon against defence contractors, using it to criticise the expense of Boeing Co.’s planned update of Air Force One and Lockheed Martin Corp.’s $379 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive US weapon system ever. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said he told Trump the plane-maker can build a new version of the presidential aircraft for less than $4 billion. “We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” Muilenburg told reporters as he left the Florida resort. The $4 billion price tag for the plane programme is a number Trump used in a tweet and well exceeds the Pentagon’s estimated cost. (Terrence Dopp and Julie Johnsson/Bloomberg)

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