President-elect Donald Trump took another shot at Boeing on Wednesday morning, telling hundreds of donors packed into a Manhattan restaurant that he refuses to allow the costs of a new Air Force One the jet manufacturer is helping outfit to soar to $4 billion.
Trump told the crowd at Cipriani that his fellow real estate developers could have negotiated a better deal for the Air Force One program, expressing incredulity at predictions of the eventual price tag, according to multiple attendees.
His remarks came a day after Trump threatened to cancel Boeing’s Pentagon contract, saying the company was “doing a little bit of a number.” Hours later, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg pledged to the president-elect that the company would keep costs down.
At Wednesday’s over-capacity fundraiser, which was expected to raise at least $4 million dollars for the nonprofit running Trump’s transition effort, the president-elect indicated that he will continue to use his post to put pressure on individual corporations. Trump told the audience that he urged Apple chief executive Tim Cook to build his next factory in the United States instead of overseas, saying that would make him happy.
Close to 1,000 people crowded into the elegant midtown Manhattan restaurant for the $5,000-a-head fundraiser, including billionaire investor and Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross and Mark Burnett, the creator and executive producer of Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice.” The audience included a strong showing of Washington lobbyists who have flocked to support the transition, despite Trump’s denunciations of lobbyists on the campaign trail. (The committee planning the inaugural festivities is not accepting contributions from lobbyists, but they are permitted to give to the nonprofit running Trump’s transition.)
Also in attendance: some prominent one-time members of the “Never Trump” movement, including billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who warned in June that Trump’s election could usher in a “global depression.”
But since Trump’s election, Singer appears to have grown more optimistic. “With the team that Trump is assembling, with his magnanimous approach post-election, and with GOP majorities in the House and Senate, Paul is encouraged,” according to a person familiar with his thinking, who requested anonymity to describe his views. “He thinks we could see a dynamic economic growth agenda coming out of Washington for the first time in a long time.”
The president-elect spoke for roughly 40 minutes, giving the audience a play-by-play of the drama of election night and joking with longtime friends in attendance. He told the audience that Burnett approached him this week with a dramatic plan to kick off the inauguration in January: He suggested that Trump go down Fifth Avenue in parade, then board a Trump-branded helicopter at the top of Trump Tower and fly to Washington. The president-elect appeared cool to the stunt, noting how much a parade would snarl Manhattan traffic, according to several attendees. Rather, Trump said, “I want to get to work.”
One piece of business that he promised would be dealt with shortly: Next week, Trump said, he would announce his pick for secretary of state.
Trump is set to headline two more fundraisers on Dec. 16 in Orlando, when he visits the city for a “thank you” rally, according to a person familiar with the plans. One event will raise money for the transition, and a second high-dollar fundraiser will collect funds for the Republican National Committee.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Matea Gold