- Trump was reportedly obsessed with the USS Gerald Ford, according to a new book.
- He was fixated on the ship’s appearance and said “it just doesn’t look right.”
- “I know aesthetics,” he said, per the book, and then rubbed his own hair, adding, “Can’t you tell?”
Former President Donald Trump was obsessed with the way a new US aircraft carrier looked and routinely complained to military officials that he did not like it, according to a new book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Insider obtained an early copy of the book, “Peril,” which is set to be released next week.
The book said that Trump was fixated on the first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and regularly expressed dissatisfaction with the ship’s high cost of more than $13 billion, the weapons elevators, the catapults, and the placement of the flight command center, known as the ship’s “island,” on the flight deck.
“The generals and admirals were horrible businessmen, Trump complained repeatedly, and particularly terrible at acquisition and deal making on ships, ensuring the military was always being ripped off,” the book said.
In one meeting with military leaders, Trump reminded them that he was in the construction business. “I know about elevators,” he told them, according to the book. “If water gets on them,” elevators on the ship could malfunction, he said.
The advanced weapons elevators on the Ford, part of a suite of new technology, have long been trouble spots for the new supercarrier, though problems have been more with integration rather than the presence of water.
He was particularly upset about the placement of the ship’s island, Woodward and Costa reported. “It doesn’t look right. I have an eye for aesthetics,” the president told Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a dinner.
The book said that Trump then rubbed his own hair and said, “Can’t you tell?”
Naval officers tried to explain to Trump why the island was positioned the way it was and how its placement to the rear made it easier for pilots to land aircraft by giving them more runway space. Of course, moving the island so late in the building process would also cost an astronomical sum.
“It just doesn’t look right,” Trump insisted, according to the book.
The look of the Ford was not the only thing Trump was fixated when it came to the carrier. Throughout his presidency, he would occasionally rant, sometimes in public, about the catapult system.
Among the new technologies on the Ford is the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), which relies on electrical currents to catapult aircraft off the flight deck instead of steam, which is used on the older Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
Trump complained that the system — which has experienced problems during development but is designed to be more effective and efficient than the older steam catapults — was too complex, so much so that “you have to go to MIT to figure out how this damn thing works,” Trump said in April 2019.
In another instance a year earlier, he said that “you have to be Albert Einstein to really work it properly.”
The book said that Trump complained about the Ford often and that Milley sat and listened. “What was there to say,” the book said. “The president did not like a ship’s look. [Milley] had to endure it, just let him vent.”
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