President Donald Trump dropped in at Boeing’s North Charleston complex in South Carolina Friday, as the plane maker rolled out the first jet of its largest 787 model.
Unlike the smaller -8 and -9 models, which are assembled in both Charleston and Everett, the 787-10 will be built only in South Carolina.
Trump’s remarks were streamed live but are not currently available on the White House website.
Although Trump began his relationship with Boeing before his inauguration by tweeting a complaint about the price of Air Force One, he has since warmed to the company. Indeed, on Thursday news emerged that he had let Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg listen in unannounced while he called the Pentagon general in charge of the F-35 fighter program — which Trump had suggested should be replaced with a Boeing fighter jet.
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Friday morning, Trump made clear his newfound enthusiasm for Boeing:
A festering issue for Boeing is the lack of a full slate of board members for the Export-Import Bank, limiting the size of loan guarantees it can issue and effectively cutting the plane maker off from a crucial source of financing for foreign jet sales.
Some conservatives have derided the bank as “The Bank of Boeing” because it is by far the largest user of those loan guarantees, but Muilenburg reportedly has been lobbying Trump to consider the job-creating effect of aircraft sales and restore the bank’s financing capability.
Trump also holds the key to another key question for Boeing: Can it go ahead with its $8 billion sale jets to Iran?