President Donald Trump made a stop at the Boeing Company on Wednesday, March 14, in St. Louis, where he got to inspect fighter jets. As reported by Peter Baker of the New York Times in his pool report update titled “Subject: Out of Town Pool Report #5,” Trump was brought into a hangar that contained two fighter jets.
The tour of the fighter aircraft at the Boeing plant featured the first plane that Trump was shown, which was an F/A-18 Growler, designed with “Commander-in-Chief Donald J. Trump” on the side of the plane. As seen in the above photo, the text “Commander-in-Chief Donald J. Trump” appears in black on at least one side of the plane as Trump looked at the interior of the jet.
Unlike the photos of President Trump that emerged showing him sitting behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler truck at the White House on Thursday, March 23, 2017 – when Trump met with truckers and CEOs about healthcare that day – there doesn’t appear to be any readily findable photos of Trump sitting in the cockpit at the pilot’s helm of a fighter jet. As reported by BuzzFeed, Trump pretended to drive the truck and honk the horn that day.
Baker reported that President Trump ascended a ladder in order to meet Steve “Bull” Schmidt, a Boeing test pilot. Schmidt was already in uniform as a Navy veteran as he sat in the cockpit of the fighter jet. Trump talked with the test pilot and shook his hand after climbing the ladder with Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Due to the distance away from the New York Times reporter, it wasn’t clear what Trump and the test pilot discussed.
However, President Trump was in earshot when he walked over to greet nine of the Boeing fighter jet mechanics who were present.
“Great planes,” President Trump said to the reporters. POTUS also complimented Boeing, calling it “incredible” and a “great company.” Dennis A. Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing, wrote about the meeting with Trump, as seen in the below tweet.
According to Baker, Trump didn’t answer questions posed by reporters, but instead turned and walked away, still praising the planes. “These planes are incredible, incredible,” Trump said. The journalist also noted that “Hail to the Chief” was playing for Trump.
“Parked behind him are an F/A-18 Super Hornet over his right shoulder and an F-15 Eagle over his left. A super-sized American flag was hung so that it would be part of the picture. He was introduced with ‘Hail to the Chief’ playing.”