President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE criticized plans to overhaul some U.S. aircraft carriers' catapults while speaking to sailors aboard an assault ship stationed in Japan on Tuesday.
During his remarks, the president once again took aim at the Navy's plans to overhaul traditional steam-based catapults used for launching aircraft with newer electric systems, calling it a "wrong" choice.
"You know, they were saying — one of the folks said, 'No, the electric works faster. But, sir, we can only get the plane there every couple of minutes,' " Trump said aboard the USS Wasp, according to a White House transcript, adding: "So, really, what they did was wrong."
"I think I’m going to put an order," the president continued. "When we build a new aircraft carrier, we’re going to use steam. I’m going to just put out an order: We’re going to use steam. We don’t need — we don’t need that extra speed."
Trump took aim specifically at the cost overrun for the project to upgrade the catapult systems, which he said had reached $900 million.
“Steam’s only worked for about 65 years perfectly,” the president added.
“And I won’t tell you this because it’s before my time by a little bit, but they have a $900 million cost overrun on this crazy electric catapult," Trump said.
The Navy's use of steam catapults to launch aircraft from ships has become a pet issue for the president.
In an interview with Time magazine in 2017, he pledged that the service would not switch to "digital" catapults for launching aircraft, claiming that service members had to be "Albert Einstein" to successfully use the newer systems.
“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said—and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said, ‘What system are you going to be—' ‘Sir, we’re staying with digital.’ I said, ‘No you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good,' " he said at the time.