The presidency by social media has its downside, shareholders in a couple of major corporations have learned.
A Donald Trump tweet about “out of control” costs on the F-35 jet sent manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s stock price tumbling, for an aggregate market drop of $4 billion. An earlier Trump tweet about Boeing’s price tag on a new Air Force One had sent that company’s stock into a $1 billion fall.
Stock prices rise and fall. But I can’t help but recall Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s praise last week for Trump’s “cautious” and “disciplined” approach. Words have consequences. I bet there are some employees down at the huge Lockheed Martin plant near Camden — a facility that Arkansas had hoped to heavily subsidize if it could land a new military vehicle contract — who own some of the shares that took a hit.
Of course, Trump may be right. The Arkansas legislature, prodded by Gov. Hutchinson, voted an $87 million corporate welfare handout to Lockheed Martin to land a new military vehicle contract. The handout, with interest on the bonds, would have cost the state more than $100 million. but that wasn’t enough to make Lockheed sufficiently price competitive with Oshkosh, which won the competition.
Hutchinson’s praise of Trump also came shortly after his incendiary outreach to Taiwan — a nifty benefit for Bob Dole’s lobbying firm. China wasn’t amused. It sent a nuclear-capable bomber over the South China sea as a message to Trump. A state-run Chinese newspaper called Trump “childish and impulsive.”