Trump claims airplanes are ‘far too complex’

In a pair of tweets Tuesday, President Donald Trump offered his first thoughts on a weekend plane crash that killed 157 people including at least eight Americans. Rather than offer his condolences, Trump ranted that airplanes are becoming “far too complex,” despite having no information about what caused the crash.

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….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019


….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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019


Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz, who regularly follows Trump’s tweets and demonstrates how they track with what Fox News is discussing on any given day, noted the president was clearly watching Fox Tuesday morning because the tweets align.

But not even the Fox News report explains where Trump developed the idea that planes have become too complicated or that pilots are not smart enough to fly them. Trey Yingst simply reported that multiple countries are involved in the investigation of Sunday’s crash, and that the plane’s black box may have been damaged. He also noted that Boeing plans to update the 737 MAX 8’s software systems by next month.

An investigation into the crash is still underway, so there is little other evidence available about what caused it. Trump completely invented his concern that planes are becoming “far too complex.”

Just five months ago, another 737 MAX 8 crashed just after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. As a result of these crashes, several countries have grounded all planes of that model, including the United Kingdom, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia, as well as the airline Norwegian Air Shuttle. Several lawmakers and transportation officials are calling on the United States to do the same, but for now the United States is still flying its 74 MAX 8 planes. Worldwide, there are 387 in service.

Though Trump has not officially sent condolences to the families of the crash victims, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did issue a brief statement during Monday’s press briefing. “We extend our prayers to the loved once and friends and family of those killed in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302,” she said. “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. ”

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