Donald Trump has claimed he could fix the Boeing 737 MAX after the aircraft was involved in two fatal crashes.
In a tweet posted at 6.29am, the president said: “What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name.
“No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?”
Trump is understood not to be an aviation safety expert and he did not clarify how he proposed to remedy technical problems that have beset the aircraft, leaving it grounded by authorities worldwide.
The Boeing 737 Max was grounded in March after a second fatal accident killed 157 people in Ethiopia.
The plane plunged into the ground shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa airport on 10 March 2019. An anti-stall system known as MCAS has been implicated.
The official report into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 revealed a struggle between the two pilots and the technology installed on one of the world’s most modern aircraft.
It was the second such plane to crash in five months; in October 2018 a Lion Air aircraft was lost in similar circumstances soon after it left Jakarta airport in Indonesia, with 189 deaths.
The president’s unanticipated intervention comes amid fresh scrutiny of Boeing’s relationship with the US government’s Federal Aviation Administration.
Airlines and aviation authorities have raised serious concerns over the closeness of the relationship.
The Senate Commerce Committee is investigating whistleblower complaints that the FAA failed to give its safety inspectors adequate training to assess the Boeing 737 Max jets.
Mr. Trump was due to using Tax Day on Monday to visit Minnesota, an erstwhile Democratic stronghold he hopes to flip in 2020 after nearly winning it in 2016.
Questions remain, however, about just how much he is politically benefiting from his signature legislative accomplishment.
Minnesota, which gave the country Democratic Vice Presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, has not given its 10 electoral votes to a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972. Trump came within 1.5 percentage points of carrying the state in 2016 thanks to his strength among rural voters.
The state’s Democrats saw a huge overall resurgence during the anti-Trump backlash of 2018, notably in traditionally Republican suburbs of Minneapolis and St Paul.
Giving the president hope is the memory that his popularity outside the Twin Cities area helped the GOP flip two Democratic US House seats last year.
“I’m glad he’s coming to Minnesota,” said state Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, the top Republican in state government. “I think he realizes Minnesota’s in play.”