Trump’s perfectly normal decision on Boeing’s 737 Max 8

Short of resigning, I’m not sure there’s anything President Trump could do that wouldn’t draw criticism, or at least raised-eyebrows, from the Washington Post. Even if he resigned, the Post would probably demand to know what took him so long.

So it’s not surprising that the Post takes a shot at Trump’s common sense decision to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8. Calling Trump “Boeing’s decider-in-chief,” the Post notes that “it was extraordinary for a president to intervene in matters typically left to the FAA or the Department of Transportation.” Yet another case of Trump cutting out the experts, the Post implies.

As if to drive home its point, the Post adds:

Asked whether President Barack Obama was ever directly involved in a decision to ground planes or issue urgent safety mandates during his tenure, former transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said, “No, never, not one time.”

But did Obama ever face these circumstances: a plane crashes, satellite tracking data shows similarities between the crash and an incident with the same make of plane half a year earlier, and every major nation decides to ground the plane?

I doubt it. In any case, why should Trump follow Obama’s practice in this (or any other) area?

On the facts as described above, I think it would have been extraordinary for Trump not to order the grounding of the 737 Max 8. Erring on the side of caution seems like a normal and sensible way to proceed.

And imagine what the Post would be saying if Trump hadn’t grounded the plane. No doubt, it would attack him for putting the interests or Boeing ahead of the public’s interest in safety. Keep in mind that Trump has described Boeing’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg as “a friend of mine.”

The Post likely would also criticize Trump for being out-of-step with Europe and Canada. As noted, the 737 Max 8 had already been grounded there when Trump made his decision.

Finally, it goes without saying that the Post would be among the first to tear into Trump if he hadn’t grounded the plane and it crashed again.

Did this prospect influence Trump’s decision? I have no reason to think so, but frankly wouldn’t blame him if it did. In an era when all disasters, natural and otherwise, get blamed on Republican presidents, it’s difficult to be oblivious to the potential fallout of decisions like these.

NOTE: The original version of this post incorrectly identified the airplane as the Boeing 737 Max B.

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