President Trump finally broke his silence Tuesday on the Boeing 737 MAX jetliner, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, that crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday, killing everyone aboard. It was the second crash for Boeing's new aircraft in less than five months.
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Without naming Boeing's situation specifically, Trump tweeted, "Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!"
The tweet comes as several other countries and airlines made the decision to suspend the use of Boeing 737 Max jets until more information regarding the recent Ethiopian crash and the Lion Air crash from last October become available.
While Trump did not reference the recent crash in his tweet, White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that the president spoke to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, adding that the admistration is "continuing to monitor the situation." A source added that the call was arranged on Monday and that it was only a coincidence that it took place after the tweet and the call was not prompted by the tweet.
Additionally, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders did reference the incident during a press conference on Monday.
"We extend our prayers to the loved ones, friends and family, of those killed in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302. At least eight U.S. citizens were among the victims. We are working with the government of Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines to offer all possible assistance," Sanders told reporters.
Boeing shares continue to remain under pressure for a second day in a row as more countries join the growing list to ground 737 MAX 8 planes.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday that it had no immediate plans to ground the aircraft in the U.S., while China, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore and Indonesia have all suspended operations of the Max 8 planes, as well as carriers including Norwegian Air, Aeromexico and Aerolineas Argentinas.
However, the FAA is facing pressure from some U.S. elected officials to halt the use of the jets.
"Out of an abundance of caution for the flying public, the @FAANews should ground the 737 Max 8 until we investigate the causes of recent crashes and ensure the plane’s airworthiness," Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, tweeted on Tuesday.
Senator Elizabeth Warren later followed, releasing a statement calling on all 737 Max 8 planes to be grounded in the United States.
"Today, immediately, the FAA needs to get these planes out of the sky."