Trump promises to cut costs of F-35 program 'beautifully'

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE promised Wednesday that he would cut the costs of the Air Force's F-35 program, underlining a message that he will seek to reduce government's costs. 

"It's a program that's very, very expensive," the president-elect said to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. 

"It's a dance. It's a little bit of a dance, but we're gonna get the cost down, and we're gonna get it down beautifully." 

ADVERTISEMENT

He added: "I think were looking to cut a tremendous amount of money."

Trump met with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson Wednesday afternoon. 

In a statement to Time, Hewson called the meeting "productive." 

 

"I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the importance of the F-35 program and the progress we’ve made in bringing the costs down," she said. "The F-35 is a critical program to our national security and I conveyed our continued commitment to delivering an affordable aircraft to our U.S. military and our allies.” 

Trump earlier this month criticized the F-35 project, which Lockheed Martin is contracted to provide to the military.

Separately, Trump has also slammed Boeing over the costs of two Air Force One airplanes the company is contracted to provide. 

Trump met Wednesday with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. Asked Wednesday by reporters if his meeting will lead to a price cut for the Air Force One project, Trump said "I think so." 

Muilenburg also told reporters earlier that he assured Trump that the costs would come down. 

"We're going to make sure that he gets the best capability and that it's done affordably," he said. 

Trump tweeted last week that the F-35 program was "out of control," adding that he intends to save "billions" of dollars on military and other purchases when he takes office. 

Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 Joint Office Program Office, defended the program this week.

"This program is not out of control,” he told Business Insider this week.

"Since 2011 we have basically been on schedule, since 2011 we have basically been on budget, we are delivering now today, 50 plus airplanes a year that when in the hands of the warfighter make a huge, huge difference. Don't ask me about that, go ask the warfighters ... They want this airplane, they need this airplane they are embracing what this airplane can do for future air combat."

Later Wednesday night, Trump tweeted that he spoke with a slew of "very impressive" military admirals and generals about "airplane capability and pricing." 

According to pool reports, Trump met with a group of military brass at his Florida resort.