Trump perplexes with plane tweets after lethal crash

WASHINGTON

U.S. President Donald Trump set Twitter alight Tuesday, complaining modern aircraft “are becoming far too complex to fly” and suggesting “pilots are no longer needed” after a devastating air crash in Ethiopia that killed all 157 people on board.

Trump did not directly refer to the tragedy in a series of tweets he posted but said advances in aircraft technology have necessitated increased complexity, which he said “creates danger”.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot,” he said. “I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”

The tweets set off a series of reactions from Twitter ranging from the perplexed to the comical.

Dave Itzkoff, the culture reporter for The New York Times, posted a New Yorker cartoon from 2016 depicting an enraged airline passenger exclaiming “These smug pilots have lost touch with regular passengers like us. Who thinks I should fly the plane?”

All of the passengers in the cartoon raise their arms in union.

“It’s all coming true,” commented Itzkoff.

Brian Klaas, a political scientist at University College London, pointed to the president’s tweets from January 2018 in which he took credit for the “best and safest year on record” for commercial aviation in 2017.

“A year ago, Trump absurdly took credit for the safest year in commercial aviation history—which was due to technological advances,” Klaas wrote. “Today, he slams technological advances in aviation and says he doesn’t want Albert Einstein flying his plane.”

Philip Bump, The Washington Post’s national reporter, pointed to Trump’s helming of the now-defunct Trump Shuttle airline during which time the president said a 1989 crash landing at Boston’s Logan International Airport was the “most beautiful landing you’ve ever seen”.

‏Nearly two dozen nations have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 to allow for an investigation into the airplane model.

In addition to Sunday’s tragedy, the plane was also involved in an October crash outside of Jakarta, Indonesia. All 189 people on board Lion Air flight JT610 were killed.

Both crashes took place shortly after takeoff.

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