President Trump Has Some Passive-Aggressive Branding Advice for Boeing

Photo: Getty Images

President Donald Trump this morning offered some branding advice for American aircraft manufacturer Boeing. And while the advice wasn’t necessarily bad, it was strangely passive-aggressive.

“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,” Trump tweeted around 6:30 am on the East Coast. “No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?”

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It sounds like the kind of bizarre language you’d hear from a needy, potentially emotionally abusive partner, not the president of the United States.

Boeing is at the center of two plane crashes within just five months that killed 157 people in Ethiopia and 189 people in Indonesia. The Boeing 737 Max-8, the model of both planes, has been grounded worldwide, and the company is working on a software fix. But Boeing may not get those planes in the air again until as late as this summer.

Again, Trump’s idea isn’t necessarily bad advice for Boeing, since anyone taking commercial flights will likely be skeptical of any Boeing 737 Max in the future. Maybe they really should rebrand the plane after it gets certified to fly again. But the president’s tone was quite bizarre.

Trump is often more likely to brag about his supposed brilliance and wealth than he is to claim he might actually know nothing. Clearly, he doesn’t believe that, but then again, we’ve had some trouble trying to decipher when the president is “joking” before.

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For instance, President Trump mentioned “WikiLeaks” over 140 times on the campaign trail in 2016, including saying that he “loved” the organization. But when White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about his praise of WikiLeaks—which is perplexing given the fact that his regime is trying to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States—she insisted that Trump didn’t actually love the organization.

“Look, clearly the president was making a joke during the 2016 campaign,” Sanders told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace yesterday.

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The Trump regime has repeatedly walked back strange and often crypto-fascist statements, like when Trump said that he wanted “my people” to “sit up at attention” how North Koreans do for dictator Kim Jong Un. Trump later said he was “kidding.” Or like when Trump endorsed police brutality against suspects who have been arrested. Sarah Sanders said Trump was “making a joke.”

Trump also accused the Democrats of “treason” for not applauding him enough during the 2018 State of the Union speech, another instance where the White House communications team insisted that Trump was being “tongue in cheek.”

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Then there was the time that Trump said that the presidential term limits should be extended to 16 years. Again, he insisted he was joking.

In fact, some people thought that President Trump was joking when he proposed things like the Muslim ban and the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. But we now know he wasn’t joking about those things either. In February of 2017, just two weeks after taking office, Trump said perhaps the most true thing he’s ever said.

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“The wall is getting designed right now,” Trump said during a speech on February 8, 2017. “A lot of people say ‘oh, oh, Trump was only kidding, with the wa-’ I wasn’t kidding, I don’t kid. I don’t kid.”

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So that settles that, I guess. Trump doesn’t do jokes, but he sure does passive-aggression.

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog