Spotlight on Trump’s Ties to Boeing Amid Probes of 737 MAX 8 Jets

The Trump administration’s close ties to Boeing are facing new scrutiny in the wake of deadly plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia involving the Boeing 737 MAX8 jet. President Trump has publicly praised Boeing hundreds of times in his two years in office and participated in efforts to sell its planes, including the 737 MAX series, to countries and airlines around the world. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg praised Trump’s support at a dinner last August at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who was appointed by Trump, spent 31 years as a Boeing executive. And Trump’s former U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, has been nominated to the Boeing board of directors. We speak to William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. His recent piece in The Nation is titled “A Former Boeing Executive Is Now Running the Pentagon.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, the Trump administration’s close ties to Boeing are facing new scrutiny in the wake of deadly plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet. The Transportation Department has launched an investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of the plane, since Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed last week, killing all 157 people on board. The Ethiopian transport minister said early investigations have revealed clear similarities between the crash in Ethiopia and the Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610 that crashed in October, killing 189 people. While the detailed information has yet to be released, flight tracking data shows both flights seemed to go through unpredictable climbs and descents before crashing just minutes after takeoff. The U.S. did not immediately ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets after the crash in Ethiopia, despite growing international pressure. President Trump eventually ordered U.S. airlines to ground…

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